Kigali hosts meeting of French-speaking mayors

City Hall is one of the venues of the four-day meeting, which opens today. File.

More than 100 mayors from French-speaking cities across the world will today start a four-day meeting in Kigali.

The mayors will be in the country to attend the 89th meeting of the Bureau of the International Association of French-speaking mayors (AIMF), an organisation to which they are members.

Among high-profile mayors to attend the meeting include the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who is the current President of the association.

She is set to sign a cooperation agreement between Paris and the City of Kigali, an event that will be held on Monday afternoon.

At least 19 cities from across the world will be represented at the meeting in Kigali, with discussions focusing on urban development as well as Rwanda’s reconstruction, unity, and reconciliation process, as well as keeping the memory of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Mayor Hidalgo is also expected to visit The Kigali Genocide memorial and meet officials at the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors, Ibuka, and the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG).

Delegates from the International Association of French-speaking mayors will also take part in the Sunday Car-Free Day activities in Kigali and follow a cycling competition funded by Union Francophone de Cyclisme, the cycling governing body of the International Organisation of La Francophonie.

Mayors attending the meeting in Kigali include those from Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Bordeaux (France), Brazzaville (Congo), Dakar (Senegal), Libreville (Gabon), Liege (Belgium), and Montreal (Canada).

Others will come from Nantes (France), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Paris (France), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Port-au- Prince (Haiti), Port-Louis (Ile Maurice), Saint Denis (La Réunion),Strasbourg (France), and  Ziguinchor (Sénégal).

AIMF stands for Association internationale des Maires Francophones (French for the International Association of French-speaking mayors).

It is a worldwide network of locally elected French-speaking city officials. They work together to shape the vision of a city of tomorrow that brings sustainable and shared growth, placing people at the heart of the urban project, it says.

Members cooperate to bring about joint thinking at the highest level and grassroots action that prioritises innovation and local expertise.

Created in 1979 by 20 founding cities under the initiative of the mayors of Paris (France) and Québec (Canada), the organisation reached 294 member cities in 2017, including both cities and city umbrella associations from across the world.

Robert Mambe Beugré, the governor of the District of Abidjan, is currently serving as the Secretary General.

Meanwhile, Hidalgo and her delegation will next week visit the FXBVillages Programme, which is funded by the Mairie de Paris and implemented by FXB Rwanda in the City of Kigali.

The delegation is expected to visit a beneficiary of FXBVillages Programme who lives in Nyamirambo Sector, Nyarugenge District, and will attend an exhibition of women and men supported by the programme who, thanks to the support received, started different income generating activities.

The City of Kigali Mayor, Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, said a special meeting of member cities of the AIMF in the Great Lakes region will be held focusing on cross-border trade, with the youth and women at the heart of discussions. 

Speaking about the expected agreement between the cities of Kigali and Paris, Rwakazina told Saturday Times that the cooperation framework will entail such areas as environment protection, ICT, culture and sports, infrastructure, citizen participation, and archives and memory.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com