Hohoe (V/R), April 7, GNA - The Tamale Municipality and the city of Louisville, Kentucky, in the U.S have been adjudged the best Sister Cities for 2004, out of 2,400 registered city partnerships worldwide.
Mr Prince Kwame Kludjeson, President of the African Global Sister City Foundation (AGSCF), said this at the inauguration of an 18-member Hohoe District Tourism Development Committee at Hohoe on Wednesday. He said the verdict, which was announced at an International Annual Sister City Conference held in Fortworth, Texas, attributed the success of the two cities to a joint project on Women Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation.
He said the objective of the Sister City programme was to promote international friendship, create and strengthen long-term partnership and citizen diplomacy, and development from the grassroots level.
Mr Kludjeson, who is also the country coordinator of the Ghana Sister Cities Foundation, said the number of cities in the country, which had negotiated relations with others abroad had increased to 15 in 2004 from 10 previously.
He said the Agogo Traditional Area and the city of Fort Lauderdale in Florida were the latest to strike such partnership.
Mr Kludjeson appealed to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to adopt the Sister City concept into their main stream development programmes and set aside budgetary allocations to fund such activities.
"By so doing, we would be increasing global cooperation at the local level, foster cross cultural understanding and stimulate economic development, while building bridges of hope and peace between the local and international counterparts worldwide," he said.
Mr Kludjeson said such contacts were estimated to have yielded billions of dollars to the world's economy mainly at the grassroots level.
"The Sister City concept has, therefore, become an excellent catalyst for economic growth," he said, and urged the Hohoe district to use ties with cities in the developed world to bolster its eco-tourism potential.
Mr Kludjeson announced that the AGSCF, which is an apex body for coordinating the activities of the Sister City concept, would soon host a website for all MMDAs in Ghana to showcase their investment and tourism potentials.
Mr James Dogbe, Hohoe District Chief Executive, observed that the country's enormous potential in eco-tourism, including those in the Hohoe District, were largely unexplored and therefore urged the private sector to partner government to tap them.
He appealed to the AGSCF to assist the district in realising its full potential in tourism and asked the people to maintain the highest sanitary and environmental cleanliness.
Mr Edwin Owusu-Mensah, Acting Deputy Executive Director in charge of Operations at the Ghana Tourist Board, said the country was making efforts to put Ghana on the international tourism map and appealed to all stakeholders to ensure that tourism became the mainstay of the economy.
He said Hohoe District abounds in exciting tourism products, which needed to be harnessed and packaged to attract the desired number of tourists. 07 April 05