Welcome to Issue 2 of the Africities Newsletter. With only a few weeks left before the most important democratic gathering in Africa takes place, the issue of increased participation of women in local government, policy formation, and decision making will take centre stage with over 25 sessions and special events scheduled over the Summit’s duration.
With over 5000 participants expected, we anticipate an even greater presence of women at this year’s summit addressing gender equality, women’s safety, the alleviation of poverty for women and children, political and economic empowerment, and greater community participation and engagement.
This issue features the work of women as elected officials in the local government space and local stakeholders. Our lead article by Henriette Ekwe Obongo takes a closer look at REFELA’s campaigns on street children, women’s economic empowerment and violence against women. There is an interview with the Ghana Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Minister Haija Alima Maham, who discusses the challenges of increasing participation of women in local government; also with the Mayor of Bangangté, Cameroon and President of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), Célestin Ketcha Courtès, on the launch of the women’s entrepreneurship festival, to be hosted at the Summit Exhibition; a profile of the winner of Miss Geek Africa, Salissou Yari Latifa, an inspiring advocate for the increased presence of young women in the ICT space; and an enlightening discussion with the founder of the Huairou Commission, Janice Peterson, on their work with grassroots women. In addition to our coverage on women, we hear from the Director of NALAG on mobilizing revenue and the Director of Transport at the World Bank who addresses inclusive systems of transport and urban mobility as a means of poverty alleviation in cities. Whilst there is no doubt that youth are the future of Africa, it goes without saying that women are Africa’s beating heart. We look forward to seeing you at Africities 8.