Municipal Development Partnership (MDP)
116 Rue des Amoureux
Zongo Nima
01 BP 3445 Cotonou
Tel: +229 30 05 60 / 30 42 42
Fax: +229 30 19 76

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African cities demand
access to basic services

The Municipal Development Partnership (MDP) was set up in 1991 to promote decentralisation policies and strengthen the role played by local communities in African society.

The MDP is a regional association whose members are national associations of local authorities in West and Central Africa. Out of 24 countries of the region, some 18 have already national associations of local authorities and 15 national associations are members of the MDP. The MDP is managed by a board of directors made up of eight national authorities. The MDP regional offices are in Harare (Zimbabwe) and Cotonou (Benin).

In December 2003, national associations of African local authorities met in Yaounde (Cameroon) for the third Africities summit. It was described as the most popular event ever organised to discuss decentralisation and local development in Africa.

Some 1,500 delegates attended the summit, including representatives from local government, international development organisations and financial institutions. Organisations such as the World Bank, the European Union, the Canadian International Development Agency and the UN Human Settlements Programme met with mayors from African cities.

The central theme of the summit was ‘Ensuring access to basic services by African local governments’. Following on from the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg (South Africa), the Africities summit discussed the right of African communities of access to clean water, energy, transport, health and education services. City Mayors was told that access to such basic amenities was vital to improve the living conditions of inhabitants of African communities, as well as increasing their economic productivity. Conference observers were hopeful that tripartite meetings between government ministers, mayors and development partners would succeed in creating a powerful pan-continental force to strengthen the political and economic roles played by urban communities in Africa.

World Mayor 2023