United Cities and Local Governments facilitating Johannesburg/Lilongwe mentorship programme
The mentorship programme between the South African city of Johannesburg and Lilongwe has helped the Malawian capital develop a credible, long-term City Development Strategy (CDS) for the city.
The knowledge sharing between the two cities came at the request of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and has the full support of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
The Programme is an example of the kind of South-South knowledge exchange and cooperation encouraged by the Cities Alliance. Lilongwe’s request for support from the Alliance resulted in a preparatory grant being awarded for capacity development towards the development of the city’s CDS.
As early as 2007, officials of both cities recognised that some of the challenges facing Lilongwe were similar to those experienced by Johannesburg. Key challenges identified by the Malawian delegation included restoring sound financial practices, reviewing city by-laws, central market revitalisation, stabilising the city’s information technology and geographic information systems platforms, establishing a city police force, and waste site identification and management.
UCLG recognised that with the necessary capacity, experience, and the expertise, Johannesburg was perfectly placed for the role of mentor and agreed to facilitate and coordinate the process. During the mentorship, ongoing face-to-face interactions took place between officials from the two cities.
In addition to Lilongwe, Johannesburg also has a number of relationships with other African cities. It shares information about health, housing and land use management with Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); it pursues safety information and councillor training and development with Windhoek (Namibia); and it has a co-operative arrangement between the Makola market in Accra (Ghana) and the Johannesburg market.