Heavy reliance on foreign aid from developed nations is to blame for lack of basic infrastructure in most African countries, continental leaders have cautioned.
Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano urged African countries to look internally to be able to realise meaningful development that would ensure access to basic infrastructure.
The ex-leader of the South African country challenged cities and municipalities to closely work with their national governments to support mobilisation of resources to be able to unlock effective service delivery in intermediary cities.
"Our colonisers don't want us to catch up with them in any way. Relying on foreign assistance is, therefore, counterproductive and will not help us achieve our target," he said during the fourth day of the ninth edition of Africities in Kisumu.
"The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has, however, taught them a lesson. As Africans, we, therefore, need to boost our capacities and be prepared.”
Mr Chissano called on African countries to coordinate and help each other foster a robust and sustainable infrastructure that can support all sectors of their economies. "As brothers, we have to take care of each other and invest."
Former Seychelles President Danny Faure, for his part, called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support the preparedness of local governments and cities to tackle future and emerging threats.
"Covid-19 exposed us and we have to put systems in place," said Mr Faure.
The continental conference was also attended by Gabon's Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda.
Their calls are in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta's proposal to have a framework based on how national governments can support mobilisation of resources.
"Time is ripe for scaling up the role of intermediary cities as the next frontiers of African urbanisation and development," he said while presiding over Africities' official launch on Tuesday.
He noted that an unprecedented rate of urbanisation has seen 1,086 intermediary cities become home to 174 million people, representing 36 per cent of the continent’s total urban population and contributing about 40 per cent of Africa's GDP.
President Kenyatta said local governments play a key role towards the achievement of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 13 by ensuring a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways.