A Sustainable Vision for Development in Africa is Anchored in Empowering Human Capital on a Subnational Level

Najat Zarrouk, Director of the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG-Africa, highlights the need to invest in local governance that is sensitive to its human capital.

© World Bank Photo Collection via Creative Commons

Local authorities in urban and rural areas are at the forefront of sustainable development, as their proximity to citizens makes them the immediate responsible actors and primary drivers of change. Especially on the African continent, many countries see decentralisation and the shift to local governance as necessary and inevitable elements for sustainable development. That is why multidimensional and diverse frameworks and reforms like the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development as well as the 2030 Agenda with SDG 11, which aims at inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements, have been established.

In order to reach these ambitious goals set by decentralisation reforms and development agendas, UCLG Africa founded the African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) with the main goal of investing in human capital and knowledge sharing at a local level throughout Africa. Through learning, training, peer learning and capacity building the academy promotes the professionalism, performance and quality of local authorities in Africa under the slogan ‘’Together for an Effective Local Africa”.

Additional challenges like climate change and increasing inequalities, especially in rapidly growing urban areas, as well as poverty and unemployment, further accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, often prevent local authorities from positioning themselves as stakeholders in the development dynamic. Najat Zarrouk, Director of the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG-Africa is therefore pleading for a new understanding of political leadership and human resources that is committed, responsible and accountable to its citizens and in possession of resources as well as adapted and customised methodologies and tools to face those challenges.

In this way, UCLG Africa’s Academy promotes the idea of inclusive local governance through a process of learning, training and capacity building of local authorities that are aware of their duties and responsibilities towards the communities and citizens.

To learn more about the opportunities and challenges the African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) faces in localising the SDGs on the African continent, follow this link here.