By Aminata S Kuyateh
The Banjul City Council (BCC) yesterday signed a partnership with North Miami ushering in cooperation between the two cities designed to boost education,cultural heritage and economic opportunities.
The partnership is under the sister cities initiative. a concept aimed at enhancing the power of connection, understanding and collaboration between cities across borders.
Speaking at the event, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe said the partnership and collaboration with the city of North Miami will enrich the lives of the citizens of both cities as well as contribute to their progress and prosperity.
“Banjul and North Miami shares a common aspirations for growth, development and inclusivity and both cities are home to diverse population, rich cultural heritages and a spirit of resilience that defines us,” she said.
She added that in establishing the sister city program between Banjul and North Miami, it is crucial that “we acknowledge the pressing issues of the climate change and the urgent need for climate resilience in our cities”.
“We look forward to an economic cooperation that will open doors for trade and investment between Banjul and North Miami through business forums, trade missions and shared expertise, to promote economic growth, job creation and sustainable development,” Major Lowe said.
Major Lowe said both Banjul and North Miami are coastal cities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and it is essential that “we address these challenges”. She warned that rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions and changing erratic rainfall patterns are threatening “our communities, our ecosystem and economies”.
“Climate change knows no border. In August last year, the city of Banjul experienced one of the worst flash floods in over 40 years where residents lost properties, infrastructure damage and even loss of lives,” Major Lowe lamented.
She also raised the plight of women in Banjul who she said are mainly engaged in economic activities like fishing and petty trading to support their families. She said since commercial activities are now done online, the women of Banjul need to join in this fast-moving system otherwise they will be left behind.
The visiting mayor of North Miami, Alix Desulme said he believes that most critical aspects of public service is giving back to the community.
“We have a mission in South Africa last year and the goal was to find 500 sister cities in the world and The Gambia is first in that mission. The mission of the sister cities was founded in 1956 to form long lasting relationship between cities,” he said.
Major Alix expressed his delight and gratitude for the partnership, adding he is looking forward to building more partnership in the areas of cultural heritage, and educational programs with Banjul.