Delegates from the City of Genk in Belgium, including Jeff Gebriels, the mayor of that city, visited the city of Francistown in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the two cities and to renew their Memorandum of Agreement, signed in June 2004.
The cities undertook to work collectively in the development of their cities as they share similar traits.
Addressing a fully attended dinner event, staged for the renewal of the agreement at the Francistown Civic Center on Wednesday, Francistown mayor, Honest Billy Buti, pointed out that the twinning arrangement of the two cities had been a success since 2004 and the relationship between these cities had blossomed.
“The arrangement started five years ago and has developed into a strong partnership between the two cities,” said Buti.
He indicated that the friendship between the two cities emanated from both cities being mining towns of gold and coal. He further mentioned that the very warm, frequent and reciprocated visits undertaken had resulted in the exploration of very critical areas of communication, including the installation of a telemetry system at the Mambo Waste Water treatment plant.
“The Plant has a set of water stabilation ponds, vacuum tankers and other utility vehicles as well as tools and equipment for the sewerage operation,” said the Mayor.
He applauded the health exchange programme, which started last year with the attachment of students from Regina Mundi Institution in Genk at the Francistown Institute of Health Sciences.
“Genk City has also assisted the visually-impaired pupils of Phatogo Primary School in Monarch location with talking equipment and the establishment of the Computer Center for youth in Francistown,” he said.
He further pointed out that, as a way forward, further efforts of cooperation must include the development of the parks in Francistown, private sector exploration and renewable energy plantation of the Jatropha plant, which produces bio-fuels for domestic and industrial usage.
Addressing the participants, Jeff Gebriels, the Mayor of the city of Genk, indicated that it was a milestone that this relationship created an environment of trust, loyalty and friendship between the two cities.
“The renewal of the Memorandum of Agreement between the two cities is very important and ever since the signing of the first agreement, Francistown City has made remarkable growth,” said Gebriels.
He commended the Francistown City Council for being cooperative in the initiation of the projects ever since the signing of the first Memorandum of Agreement in 2004.
“I have been impressed by our visits to Tati Nickel Mine, Phatogo Primary School and Mambo Water treatment Plant. Indeed the visits showed significant progress,” he said.
Opportunities in the new memorandum include cultural and social upliftment, as well as economic development between the people of both cities.