Francistown Mayor, James Kgalajwe has showered accolades on the twinning expedition between Francistown and the City of Genk in Belgium saying that the initiative is a tremendous success for both cities.
In 2004 Francistown City Council and the City of Genk signed a memorandum of agreement to begin a twinning expedition in order to share ideas and help each other in terms of developments.
The twinning arrangement was initially proposed by the City of Genk in August 2003 after the officials from that city, learnt about Francistown from the internet. During that time, Genk was searching for a city in Africa which has its similarities. It then identified Francistown as its twinning partner mainly because both cities were once mining towns.
Speaking during a farewell dinner on Thursday last week for the Genk council delegates who were in Francistown, Kgalajwe said that there has been notable progress between both cities due to the twinning agreement.
“It is worth noting that the two cities have benefited a lot in this twinning project. The City of Genk has helped us build a computer youth centre which is benefitting our youths. Currently we have two students from the Institute of Health Sciences(IHS) on an exchange programme at the City of Genk and we are expecting the city of Genk to also send their students for an attachment at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital this coming November,” he said.
The mayor said that both cities have achieved a lot as they have managed to transform their communities in coming up with sustainable projects. He said they will soon renew their agreement and will continue to exchange ideas on how to develop both cities.
“As the Francistown City Council, we have also resolved that we have to invest in the resurgence of the youth house as a meeting point for Francistown youth. The City of Genk has pledged its support on the project,” said Kgalajwe.
The mayor also added that the twinning agreement between the two cities presents an opportunity for both cities to harness their bilateral agreement that exists between Botswana and Belgium ultimately increasing friendship between Africa and Europe.
“This is a notable achievement as the relationship is one of the best nationally. Other towns and cities are continuing to benchmark on this twinning agreement to see what they can learn from us,” said a clearly elated Kgalajwe.
For his part, the mayor of Genk, Wilm Dries who was heading the visiting delegation also lauded the twinning agreement for both cities adding that it continues to benefit both cities.
“This twinning agreement is indeed a success as both cities are continuing to learn and support each other on terms of development,” he said.
He said that in their next twinning agreement they will focus on women empowerment to try and uplift women.
In conclusion, he said that Francistown has a potential to lure in investors as it has good infrastructure.