Columbia, AMA Strengthen Ties

Mayor of Columbia, Stephen Benjamin (left) accepting honorary membership from Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije (middle).

The Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Stephen Benjamin, has paid a courtesy call on the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, to strengthen ties for the development of sister cities of the countries of Ghana and the U.S.

The visit comes as part of the fifth anniversary of the creation of the South Carolina/Benedict College International Legislative Exchange Program between the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the city of Columbia.

The meeting proceeded with the vision that the two mayors would continue to explore new ways of partnership and cooperation to develop the city of Accra.

It was also an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both mayors in Columbia on April 19, 2011.

The memorandum called for the collaboration of the governments of the two cities, establishing their relationship as sister cities and creating a foundation for business opportunities aimed at the further development of both cities economically and socially.

Welcoming the Mayor of Columbia, Dr. Vanderpuije pointed to the historically strong ties that have existed between Ghana and Columbia, South Carolina, since the colonial era, stating that he wished to foster their relationship by seeking economic empowerment, country development and a business partnership between the cities.

For this purpose, he announced the intention to continue to send assembly representatives to Columbia to exchange ideas and knowledge.

He said the exchange programme had brought immense benefit to the assembly, applauding past developments, such as ending the shift system with the construction of eight millennium city schools with 92 more to be built.

Dr. Vanderpuije said the visit by the Mayor of Columbia and a business delegation would, amongst other things, collaborate with the Ministry of Works and Housing to build 5,000 housing units.

He emphasized the necessity to address the collective needs of the community by focusing on energy efficiency, traffic management, water and sewage sanitation, and business management.

He cited his motivation as a social ‘responsibility to enhance the lives of everyone you meet.’

The mayor of the city of Columbia praised the AMA members for their collaboration to advance the collective needs of the ordinary people.

He therefore pledged his support to see the relationship between the two cities flourish.

The mayor of the city of Columbia and his delegation were later decorated with a locally made Kante sash and presented with a citation making him an honorary member of the AMA assembly.

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Caption: Mayor of Columbia, Stephen Benjamin (left) accepting honorary membership from Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije (middle).

By Jamila A. Okertchiri & Stephanie F. Miles

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