First African Regional Summit of SCI ends in Cape Town
The first African Regional Summit of the Sister Cities International (SCI) aimed at creating about 500 new USA-Africa partnerships by 2028 has been held in Cape Town, South Africa.
It had as its theme “Transforming SCI Africa; honoring traditions, creating new partnerships” and is expected to generate extraordinary opportunities for global, economic and sustainable development in Africa.
SCI, a non-profit organisation, created to help communities across the world to achieve the aspiration of fostering peace by building bonds between them, has over 500 member cities, counties and states in the USA currently partnering over 2,100 municipalities in 145 other countries worldwide.
Opening the summit, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, in tracing the history of SCI noted that while Sister City relationships had traditionally been developed for diplomatic, cultural or educational purposes, today’s economic climate required a growing need for cities to expand and leverage sister-city partnerships for economic development.
In a keynote address titled “Forging Stronger Partnership in Africa for Sustainable Economic Development through the Sister Cities Global Partnership” and read for him by Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, the Vice-President pointed out that unlike 50 years ago, “cities today operate and compete in a different world and thus drive the world economy”.
By the year 2030, he said, it is projected that global urban population will reach 75 per cent and over 90 per cent of global GDP will result from urban activity.
Quoting Mckinsey’s research work indicating that one-third of the world’s GDP would come from just 100 cities, Dr Bawumia observed that “at the heart of this change is globalisation which is increasing trade flows between regions and is shifting economic power towards the emerging economies of Africa, Asia and South America, or more accurately the cities of these regions”.
“It is therefore evident that cities are not only driving the global economy but also the engines of growth through productivity, innovation and job creation,” he stated.
The Vice-President indicated that sister cities generally focused on four main areas of collaboration and stressed that in moving forward however, all city leaders must be encouraged by such vital issues as Arts and Cultural Exchange, Business and Trade Development, Community and Humanitarian Development as well as Youth and Educational programs to develop a strong bond of global partnerships among cities.
“We are now living in the Urban Age,” Dr Bawumia said, adding “cities are the most important unit of social and economic reproduction because they supply the most critical components in today’s globally connected economic system.”
The Vice-President also noted that global economic factors such as globalisation, urbanisation and digitalisation were opening up new markets, intensifying competition and adding new layers of complexity to global supply chains.
He therefore, urged city leaders to understand how global economic factors can affect the competitiveness of their cities and determine how their unique assets could service the impacts of globalisation in order to become beneficiaries of new trade flows, direct investments, job creation and innovation and remain an attractive proposition in a world economy.
BY TIMES REPORTER