-At 2018 African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum
As part of his unflinching quest to make Monrovia clean, green and safe; Mayor Jefferson Koijee is utilizing his international leverage to connect, seek support and place Monrovia on path with smart cities around the globe.
Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee
This year’s African Capital Cities Forum which focuses on series of challenges faced by cities in Africa ranging from water and sanitation, climate change, Energy and Transport, Financing and Bank ability, Waste Management and address the need for cities to drive the developmental agenda of their countries is taking place in South Africa, with the City of Tshwane the host.
Presenting on behalf of the City of Monrovia , Mayor Koijee commended the Mayor of Tshwane and the government of South Africa for granting Liberia a visa waiver under the leadership of President George M. Weah; and appealed to the City Mayor of Tshwane and the government of South Africa at large to extend such goodwill in creating a student exchange program between the University of Cape Town, Johannesburg and the University of Liberia, provide buses to help tackle Liberia’s transportation problem.
He said, with such program and assistance, it will help to improve the education sector and address the deplorable transportation problem in Monrovia.
Mayor Koijee also outlined the current capacity of the City Government of Monrovia in addressing the issue of solid waste management, stressing the need for government to privatize solid waste management as a way of alleviating burden from the City Government.
He said, “it’s a burden on both central government and city governments in Africa to shoulder responsibility of waste collection with little or no recycling neither waste to energy.
African countries are struggling while depending heavily on foreign Aid. Monrovia is part of many cities around Africa that are encountering a struggling economy.”
He said the current major donor is the World Bank which is providing US$10.5million to build a new landfill and help with few equipment to collect waste, with a counterpart funding of US$7 million from the Government of Liberia.
“We must rise up as African cities, to drive the developmental agenda of our respective countries, he lamented.
He further said the issue of housing for the poor and public transportation remain one of the notable challenges Monrovia is faced with.
“We are the hubs for sustainability because when cities are funded, supported, they will definitely change the dynamic.
45- 50 % waste generated in Monrovia is a plastic waste. Plastic waste is gradually taking over our ocean thereby leading to a serious water pollution in Africa and around the world,” he added.
Mayor Koijee said the situation if not tackle, will destroy the marine resources because the dangerous part is that the plastic debris is finding its way into the stomachs of innumerable species with lethal consequences, plastic particles are working their way into the food chain and placing many of mankind’s primary food sources and their respective ecosystems at risk of contamination and collapse. He said “It is an extremely serious situation that we, ordinary people, are 100% responsible for.”
The Mayor who is noted for not mincing his words, said, “Monrovia is challenged with lot of vices ranging from equipment to collect waste, housing, human resource capacity, finance, and low security manpower to enforce the City ordinances”. He pleaded with the Mayor of Tshwane and the government of South Africa to help Monrovia with Fire trucks and Ambulances to be used by the City Government of Monrovia. He pointed out that Monrovia is vulnerable to fire disaster and life-threatening diseases, while there is lack of capacity to promptly address fire disaster or commute sick people to hospitals or clinics in the city.
The ambitious Mayor who joined his colleagues from thirty-five capital cities in Africa; serve as one of the panelists to share his vision for Monrovia.
He intimated that his vision to make Monrovia clean, green and safe, provide jobs for young people, tackle the issue of housing, public transportation and make Monrovia one of the beautiful cities in Africa remains his prime objective as he will leave no stone untouched in achieving said dreams in line with the government Pro-Poor agenda.
For his part, Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga of Tshwane expressed his great admiration for President George M. Weah who he said is one of the icons of Africa and always dream of becoming the next Nelson Mandela on the continent of Africa; he encouraged African Mayors to start what he called “the African way of solving our issues. ”
The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum is a powerful, growing community of Mayor of capital cities across the continent. This year’s forum which is been hosted in Tshwane, South Africa brought together 35 capital cities of the 54-nation state of Africa.
The forum which is intended to make cities sustainable, safe, efficient, people -friendly in Africa began on June 5,2018 and will end on the 7th of June 2018.