Leverage sister-city relationships for economic development — Dr Bawumia
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has called for the leveraging of sister-city relationships into economic development.
He said while sister-city relationships had traditionally been developed for diplomatic, cultural or educational purposes, in the current economic climate, the way to go was to connect and expand to economic development.
Dr Bawumia said this in a speech read on his behalf by a deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Augustine Collins Ntim, at the First Sister Cities International (SCI) African Regional Summit in Pretoria, South Africa last Friday.
Dr Bawumia’s speech was on the topic, “Forging Stronger Partnership in Africa for Sustainable Economic Development through the Sister Cities Global Partnership.”
The event was on the theme, “Transforming SCI Africa: Honouring Traditions, creating New Partnerships”.
The goal of this summit was to create some 500 new US-Africa partnerships by 2028 to generate extraordinary opportunities for global, economic and sustainable development in Africa.
Cities driving world economy
Dr Bawumia said it was clear that cities operate and compete in a different world today than they did 50 years ago, adding that it had been projected that by 2030, the global urban population will reach 75 per cent, and over 90 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) will result from urban activity.
He said cities were driving the global economy and had become the engines of growth through productivity, innovation and job creation.
The Vice-President noted that globalisation was increasing trade flows between regions and shifting economic power towards the emerging economies of Africa, Asia and South America, or more accurately, the cities of those regions.
Sister Cities International
Sister Cities International, a non-profit organisation created to help communities achieve this aspiration, was born out of that conference.
Today, SCI has over 500 member cities, counties and states in the US, which have partnered with over 2,100 municipalities in 145 other countries worldwide.
Its mission is to develop peace and prosperity worldwide through person-to-person interaction, an exchange that transcends national boundaries and governmental action.
Dr Bawumia stated that officials, businesses and other community members in sister cities had unique opportunities to learn from each other in policy areas such as sanitation, water, health, transportation, tourism, sustainability, economic development and education.
Sister city communities, he added, were also well-placed to assist each other in times of crisis.
He further indicated that sharing cultural traditions, from music and art to food and fashion, was a powerful way for two communities to learn from each other.