Ministry for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Panel I

Partnerships for development with African local authorities
(simultanous translation: German, English, French)

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions on earth. Over the past 40 years, living conditions there have not kept pace with global progress. Consequently, this region is in the focus of the development cooperation efforts of Germany and the European Union.
Many development cooperation initiatives take place on the municipal level, for example town twinning and project-based partnerships. In terms of their structure and authority, however, European municipalities differ not only from each other, but also from African municipalities. Consequently, local authorities cannot transfer their own (success) models to their partner municipalities one-to-one.
In addition to sub-national cooperation within the context of town twinning, this panel also discussed national cooperation with African local authorities. This included the support of local authorities through the promotion of national decentralisation processes and reforms as well as capacity development through provision of resources and know-how within the context of municipal infrastructure projects. Other important approaches are the improvement of the financial situation of local authorities by establishing fiscal transfer systems and municipal financing instruments as well as the development respectively improvement of capital markets.

The aim of this panel was to discuss the experience gained with sub-national and national development partnerships with local authorities in Sub-Sahara Africa and to explore the chances of intensifying these.

  • What are the experiences of African local authorities with the German and European development cooperation?
  • What are the experiences of European actors concerning their development partnerships with African local authorities?
  • What are the approaches of the German federal development cooperation to support local authorities in African partner countries?
  • What is the role of civil-society organisations in the development partnerships?
  • How can local development cooperation be reinforced in future? Which role does the European Union play in this context?


Jean Baptiste Bizimana
Senator, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, Rwanda
Sandra Ceciarini
Director, "Citizenship and International Cooperation" of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), France
Jürgen Linden
Mayor of the City of Aachen
Bernd Schleich
Managing Director of Capacity Building International (InWEnt)
Bruno Wenn
Senior Vice President of the Sub-Saharan Africa Unit, KfW Entwicklungsbank
Helen Zille
Premier of Western Cape Province, South Africa

Astrid Prange de Oliveira
Journalist, Rheinischer Merkur

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