A state-of-the-art technology centre known as Global Techology Centre for Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation (AGSCF) has been jointly inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Mr. Elvis Afriye-Ankra and President and CEO of Sister Cities International Ms. Mary Kane in Accra.
The technology centre which is the first of its kind on the continent of Africa is part of a-3-year $7.5 million African Urban Poverty Alleviation programme in 25 selected beneficiary African countries to implement projects in the areas of water, sanitation and health by Sister Cities International.
Six Assemblies (Cities), including Tamale, Ga East, Ga West and Akuapim South in Ghana are each benefiting from $115,000 grant under the programme. The project also aims at strengthening and building the capacity of Africa Global Sister City Foundation in promoting sister cities programmes in Africa and the rest of the world.
The centre which is meant to close the technology gap between Africa and the advanced world will also help sister cities under the programme store and retrieve information. It will help the member communities/cities to use the facility to communicate to their counterpart all over the world. The technology centre includes video conference, internet, and back-up/mass data storage facilities. The facility will also be used to offer information communication training centre for Assembly members, Chief Executives (Mayors) and local government officials and support Africa chieftaincy institutions.
The Minister lauded the initiative saying ‘this has come at the right opportune time when the ministry is trying hard to take up a challenge in managing its data and information as quick as possible.’
He applaud the ingenuity Mr Kwame Kludjeson, the President Chair of the African Global Sister Cities Foundation who initiated the move and holding the key of sister cities relationships in Africa.
He challenged the managers of the centre to make good use of it to the benefit of the nation and entire Africa and urged Chief Executives to take advantage of the opportunity to minimize cost and difficulties they go through in seeking information even within their own locality.
Mary Kane on her part charged Ghana to champion the sister cities relationships in Africa since the hope of the United States of America is on Ghana as the beacon of democracy in Africa. She said though Ghana is leading the chat of sister city relationships in Africa, her organization need more communities and regions be connected to state in America to mutual benefits.
Ms. Kane highlighted the growing importance of sister city partnerships in Africa in creating economic opportunity and supporting the development of the regions: “We intend to use our current projects in Africa to educate our members on the best practices needed in more complex humanitarian and development endeavors. Our current ventures have shown us the complexities of this type of work, from incorporating local voices in the planning process to negotiating legal and bureaucratic hurdles to ensuring that these projects are sustainable.” Kane said.
Mr. Kwame Kludjeson said, this was the outcome of the twelve years struggle of sister cities connection in Ghana and Africa at large saying the goals of establishing the centre shall be implemented to the later and advised that it is important for people to support initiatives such as this rather than killing them which will go a long way to helping the next generation.
Mr. Isaac Kodobisa, the Chief Executive of the Ho Municipality on behalf of his colleagues pledged their support for the centre in making good use of it in achieving the desired purpose.
As part of Mary Kane’s visit to Ghana, she inspected and inaugurated the AUPAP projects, held meetings with local Sister City partners, NGOs, diplomatic partners, and other officials in Ga East/ West and Akuapim South district of Ghana. The trip also took her meet some officials in Mombasa, Kenya before arriving in Accra.
A conference was also organized for all Chief Executives (Mayors) of some selected assemblies, local representatives and other partners dubbed ‘MAYORAL FORUM’ on the theme “Establishing sister cities for socio-economic development of Ghana.” This forum was used to explain issues regarding strategies that should be adopted to increase the relationships in Ghana. She mentioned also that US states are more than ready to forge relationships with regions in Ghana.
Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation and its partner Sister cities International, have over the years enjoyed good working relationship with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, District/Municipal/Metropolitan Assemblies and more especially the Chiefs and their elders throughout the country for the success of the programme.
By Charles Agbelie,
Public Affairs Officer,
Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation
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