The keys to sustainable transition in Africa according to Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.

As is traditional in the Africities Summits , UCLG Africa’s Secretary General, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi spoke to reporters about some of the concerns of many media that came to inquire about the new dynamics of local Africa. That was an opportunity for Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi emphasizes the key to the success of Africa’s transition to sustainable cities and territories.

Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi addressed some issues to engage Africa territories on the path of sustainable development, these issues being the following: “Citizens of Africa becoming aware that the future of the world will be played in Africa”; “Africa is not poor but some people try to make Africans believe that their continent is poor”; and “there is need to strengthen local taxation and to better structure migration, which is a human right”. «Most of our fellow citizens in Africa are not always aware that the future of the world lies now inside the continent “, said the Secretary general. Nonetheless, without this awareness, it will be difficult for the continent to start the path to sustainable because the path to sustainable development must engage not only local communities, but also citizens. Sustainable cities and territories require a collective commitment. In this collective commitment it will be necessary to review the taxation and to direct it towards the local level. It is not because the trend in Europe is to lower taxes that Africa must follow this path. In Africa, few people pay taxes and many people escape taxation. The transition in question takes into account changes in behavior and paradigms, but also mobilization of resources, especially at the local level. Levying more taxes but redistributing them to local communities seems to be an important key to the transition to sustainable cities and territories.

Giving back dignity and wealth to Africa.

“Africa is not poor. Some people try to make you think it’s poor. However, these same people are eager to come and do business in Africa. The migration crisis we are discussing today is a result of the fact that the Western media has always portrayed Africa as the continent of misfortune. How do you want youth to agree to build in a continent presented as that of misfortunes?” For Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Africa is the continent of the future with its resources, its momentum towards sustainability, and especially with a good management of the democratic transition. But to achieve this, Africans must be allowed to believe in themselves and in their continent.

Improving urban policy to anticipate the future.

“The demographic situation in Africa will stabilize in the years to come. But in the meantime, we need to improve urban governance. The influx of citizens to cities is not the result of one of the urban policies in Africa”. For Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Africa still faces what he calls “the equilibrium of death”. Families give birth to many children hoping that some of them will stay alive. Nowadays, we must abandon this trend. “The medical revolution and scientific progress make children easily go beyond the age of five and live for a long time. That’s why we have to reverse this trend and get into “the equilibrium of life”. But in the meantime, we must improve urban services. Two thirds of the wealth of the countries are produced inside cities. We must therefore take African cities seriously”, insists Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.