SA hosts African Decentralisation Day

South Africa will join the rest of the continent to mark African Decentralisation Day on Thursday.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Des van Rooyen will convene a roundtable at the CSIR in Tshwane. The event will bring together about 60 delegates from various sectors to discuss issues around local government.

African Decentralisation Day was adopted at the January 2012 African Union (AU) summit. The day is meant to serve as a reminder to all Africans, including those in the diaspora, of the importance of decentralisation in the construction of Africa, and the role of local government in achieving this objective.

Representatives from Cogta, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), provincial and local government, National House of Traditional Leaders, the Department of International Relations and Cooperate Affairs (Dirco), African Union (AU), National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Commission on Gender Equity, Department of Women, Foundation for Human Rights, South African Cities Network and the United Nations Development Programme are expected to attend the event.

By hosting the roundtable, South Africa hopes to contribute to the broader discussions on the continent geared to improving service delivery at local government level. The discussions will also assist to raise awareness of decentralisation and local governance.

The broader aim is to contribute to the realisation of the aspirations of Agenda 2063, which is a futuristic planning tool that advocates people-driven development, with a special focus on women and youth.

The celebration of African Decentralisation Day stems from Article 20 of the African Charter, which espouses the values and principles of decentralisation, local governance and local development. It was adopted by Heads of States and Government in 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

This charter is an international legal and consensual instrument that enacts consensual values and principles that AU member states must respect to promote, protect, strengthen and consolidate decentralisation, local governance and local development in the 2063 horizon, said Cogta in a statement.

Investing in youth

The AU has devoted the year 2017 to African youth through the theme ‘Harnessing demographic dividend by investing in youth’.

There will also be strong emphasis on getting youth to participle in various organs of local government.

The promotion of ICT among youth and their socio-economic empowerment at local level will also be a focus area as a lever for accelerating local economic development in Africa.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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