Rapid urbanization has been identified as a potential threat to peace and security on the continent, and one which may have a particularly negative impact on Africa’s growing youth population. In an effort to generate policy and debate on how rapid urbanisation intersects with conflict, ACCORD, in partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), hosted an Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD) on City Strategies to Manage Conflict. The IGD took place on 8 December 2021, during UCLG Africa’s 5th African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes (FAMI V).
The IGD held online, via zoom, had two honourable Mayors, Ms. Eyidi Ebodiam Tchoumbi, Mayor of Nkongasamba, Cameroon, and Vice President of the Network of Elected Women of Central Africa, and Mr. Fidèle Ouoba, Mayor of Kantchari, in Burkina Faso, present on the panel. Other panellists included South Africa’s African Union Youth Ambassador for Peace (AYAP), Ms. Cynthia Chigwenya, and Ms. Anisa Harrasy, the Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa Manager at Institute for Strategic dialogue. East Africa AYAP, Ms Emma Ng’ang’a, co-moderated the session with ACCORD’s Programme Officer Ms. Savannah Wilmot.
The IGD explored how urbanisation impacts conflict and how local governments can build strategies to prevent and mitigate urban conflict on the African continent. The IGD provided the opportunity for youth to exchange ideas with local government stakeholders on the issue of urban conflict and on their role in preventing and mitigating conflict. The discussions revolved around Africa’s challenge of rapid urbanisation coupled with unemployment, inequality and poverty, and Africa’s exponentially increasing youthful population. It is imperative to provide socioeconomic development for youth and to involve them in decision making in order to ensure that they don’t feel marginalised and disaffected, as these grievances may lead to conflict. The panellists agreed that youth have the potential and ability to contribute to conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution, and should be used as a resource in urban conflict management.
Local governments are positioned close to the source of local-level conflict, which is prolific on the continent. UCLG Africa is a key partner of ACCORD working collaboratively to build local and national capacities for peace. These IGDs also enrich the knowledge towards policy support and response to the drivers of conflict.