Mayors from across Africa and the Diaspora have converged at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) for the 4th World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent.
The mayors and leaders will use the three days duration of the summit to among other things, build effective partnerships between municipalities and other stakeholders to tackle economic and social development issues while deepening their political dialogue.
The three day event themed, ‘Cities leading sustainable human development and economic empowerment for Africa and the Diaspora’, have in attendance over 3000 delegates and participants from 90 countries around the world.
Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra and President of the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent, said the conference will help solidify the alliance between Africa and the Diaspora formed at the Columbia Summit some years ago.
He said the position of a Mayor or leader of a community, calls for courage to take decisions that would bring total development to the communities.
Mr. Vanderpuije said it is the duty of mayors and leaders to create economic and job opportunities for young people in order to end restlessness in the inner cities and communities all over the world.
‘We must confront racism in all forms, we must fight for the full empowerment of girls and women in the socio- economic and political activities of our societies,’ he said
He therefore charged his colleague mayors to open the doors of opportunities to all mankind regardless of the colour of their skin or gender.
‘Someday we shall give account of our stewardship as leaders and I hope when that day comes, the record will be set that when we had the opportunity we did the right thing to bring joy to our people,’ he added.
Dr. Djibril Diallo Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of UNAIDS and chairman of African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, said cities have all the tools needed to leverage the opportunity to help prevent further spread of HIV and treat infected people.
He said facilities like technology, political commitment; activism, global solidarity and national governance are all at the disposal of city leaders which they can use to help fight the disease.
He however said that was not enough to end AIDS as a local public threat, calling on city leaders to do more.
‘We need to do more, invest more, connect more, we need to be bolder than anybody and we need to do it right now,’ he said.
Dr. Diallo said if leaders continue business as usual, they will not end the global epidemic and the epidemic will mount back and all the gains will vanish, ‘this is why we need to move to a fast track approach to quicken the pace of implementation of services.’
Other dignitaries were Vice president of Ghana, Mr. Kwesi Amissah Arthur, former President Jerry John Rawlings and Vice president of Honduras Ms. Lorena Herrera.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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