The reintegration of Zimbabwe into the umbrella body for local governments in Africa, UCLGA saw several representatives from Local Government Associations across Sub-Saharan Africa converging in Harare for their Executive Committee meeting, held from 15 – 16 April, 2019. This meeting follows the UCLGA-SARO AGM which was held in Windhoek in November 2018, which was attended by a ZILGA delegation with support from LACEP a project funded by the European Union and being implemented by the Municipal Development Partnership and VNG International in partnership with the UCAZ and ARDCZ.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the UCLGA-SARO who is also the President of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) Rev Mpho Moruakgomo highlighted that Zimbabwe was specifically selected as host for solidarity reasons, after going through a series of events including the just ended cyclone Idai which devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. A word of sympathy was conveyed to Mozambique through the Mayor of Chimoio and representative of the Association of National Municipalities of Mozambique (ANAM) Cllr. J. Ferreira.
The SARO meeting gave an opportunity for Local Government Associations to reflect on challenges and opportunities faced by local governments in the sub-region through peer exchanges and to support each another. Some of the key issues impacting the Sub-Saharan region include effects of climate change such as droughts and flooding. The convergence of local governments should provide an opportunity to brainstorm on development strategies such as a disaster risk reduction and develop clear work plans to meet these challenges, efforts should be made to engage with SADC on these critical issues. The meeting ended with the hope that ZILGA will re-ignite relations and exchange knowledge with other Local Government Associations in sub-Saharan Africa