(From Kwabia Owusu-Mensah, GNA Special correspondent)
Treichville (Cote d'Ivoire), June 18, GNA- The first ever Ivorian-Ghanaian week celebration, (SIGHAN 2004) had been launched at the national theatre in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
The launching coincided with a three-day official visit of a delegation from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to the city of Treichville on Tuesday, to concretise the sister-city friendship between Kumasi and Treichville.
It was attended by a cross section of Ghanaians resident in Abidjan, Plateau and Treichville.
The aim of the Ivorian-Ghanaian week was to promote good relationship between the two countries and create a platform for effective communication between the people of the two countries in the field of trade, culture and socio-economic development of the peoples. It also aimed at promoting the welfare of Ghanaians living in Cote d'Ivoire by integrating them into the Ivorian society.
The celebration would be held annually in Treichville and Kumasi. Speaking at the launch, the Commissioner-General of Abidjan, Mr Amedi Konah Tanoh, commended President J.A. Kufuor for his untiring efforts to bring peace to Cote d'Ivoire.
He said Ghana had always been on the side of Cote d'Ivoire in times of trouble and hoped the sister relationship would help strengthen the unity that existed among the people of the two nations.
Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, KMA Chief Executive, who was the guest of honour, recalled the historical, cultural and economic relationship between the two countries for the past 300 years.
He said the bond of friendship between the two cities would be a symbol of unity between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.
He said people of the two countries had historical, cultural and socio-economic ties, which should not be constrained by language barriers.
Mr Jumah called for a fruitful relationship between the people of the two countries in order to chart a new path for speedy development.
Mr Albert Francois Amichia, Mayor of Treichville, said the institution of the Ivorian-Ghanaian week showed the appreciation of the people of Cote d'Ivoire to President J A Kufuor and the people of Ghana who stood behind them in times of political crisis.
He said Kumasi and Treichville have a cultural and economic opportunities that could be harnessed to benefit the people. Mr Amichia said this would also help create co-operation and understanding between the two countries and promote speedy socio-economic development among the people.
The city of Treichville has the largest concentration of Ghanaians resident in Cote d'Ivoire. It has a community called Koumassi. Mr Roger Omar Lorougnon who initiated the project, said the people of the two countries had a common history and culture which bonded them together.
He said there was the need therefore to bring them together to harness their potentials and promote effective development of the people.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed on Thursday to cement the Ivorian-Ghanaian week and commit the Mayors of the two cities to peace.