By Aisha Tamba
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States of America, has said that she hopes to further deepen the bond with its sister city, the Kanifing Municipality.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and her delegation, who arrived Sunday evening, are on a six-day visit to The Gambia as guests of the KMC.
Yesterday, the delegation held a general meeting with KMC members at the council chambers.
Speaking at the meeting, Mayor Satya acknowledged that KM has a lot in common with her city in terms of infrastructural development.
She said this is her first trip to a sister city.
“The Mayor of KM Bensouda has spoken of things that he has taken inspiration from Madison and it’s been humbling to hear the kind of things he is interested in, to share inspiration and support for the work he is doing here,” she said.
She said her takeaway from the visit is the things the sister city has in common, like concerns about climate change and its impact, education, environment. “We share an interest in supporting entrepreneurs and having places where small businesses can sell their goods or practice their businesses and we share a challenge where both Kanifing and Madison are rapidly growing municipalities and that has challenged us with housing issues and the need to produce more housing and housing that people can afford to live in. This is the singular problem in Madison, it is our biggest challenge and I hear from the mayor that it’s a big challenge here as well. I am hoping that we can discuss these shared concerns and learn from each other. I hope we can further deepen bonds, friendship, and communication between Madison and Kanifing.”
Mayor Talib Bensouda said since the establishment of the partnership, the council has benefited a lot from Madison and drew inspiration from the library. “I think libraries are so important. We have a youthful population. Over 65% Gambians are below the age of 35 and we don’t have one single public library. But through the inspiration of Madison library, I am glad to say we have funding and we are actually going to build a library and it will not only be the first library in the Kanifing Municipality, but it will also be the biggest library in our country and it is all inspired by Madison city,” Bensouda said.
He further stated another inspiration from Madison is the fencing of the Bakoteh dumpsite which is the biggest health crisis in the Municipality. “It was the support from this council together with our council we built a fence making it disappear from the public eye.”
Talib added that the problem at the Bakoteh dumpsite is still there, however, it has improved and the relationship between KMC and Madison is about giving ideas and sharing inspiration even without materials involved.