-To Establish Sister City Relationship
The city of Pingdingshan in Henan Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the city of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County, Liberia have signed a “Letter of Intent” to establish a sister city relationship.
According to a dispatch from Liberia’s Embassy near Beijing, Grand Bassa County, Senator Jonathan Lambort Kaipay, signed on behalf of Buchanan city, while the deputy mayor of the People’s Government of Pingdingshan city, Liu Wenhai signed on behalf of his city at a ceremony at the Noble International Hotel in Zhengzhou, Henan Province recently.
Pingdingshan City, also referred to as Eagle City, is located in central Henan Province with a population of 5.5 million. It is an important energy and raw material industrial base in the country. It is an excellent tourism destination city and one of the nine backbone cities in the central region. The city is situated between the trunk lines of Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and Jiaozuo-Zhicheng Railway, home to 400km long railways in the boundary. It is 100km away from Xinzheng International Airport. Four expressways traverse through the city to connect it with the national highway network, offering convenient transportation conditions.
After developing from a traditional coal producing city it has become a prosperous city with six pillaring industries covering the manufacturing of chemicals, equipment, steel products, building materials, agricultural processing products and modern service industries.
The Letter of Intent notes that through friendly consultations, the two cities establish a relationship to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries’ peoples as well as consolidate and develop friendly cooperation between them.
They have agreed in principle to make concerted efforts, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, to promote people-to-people friendly contacts, economic and trade interflow between the two cities, and actively carry out exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology, culture, sports, health, education, personnel, among others.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the deputy mayor of the People’s Government of Pingdingshan City, Liu Wenhai welcomed the Liberian delegation, including Ambassador Dudley McKinley Thomas, and praised them for the work done in reaching this point.
He recalled the efforts made by both China and Liberia in areas of cooperation in health, education, trade and commerce. “Through the efforts of the Liberian Embassy in China, Pingdingshan has been pushing for the establishment of a sister city relationship in Liberia and Buchanan has been suggested as the preferred choice.”
The deputy mayor hoped that Senator Kaipay promotes this venture that will lead to the signing of a formal Memorandum of Understanding at the earliest. “The Pingdingshan city will support and ensure cooperation between the two cities in all fields and we are confident of the prospects of our cooperation,” he assured.
For his part, Senator Kaipay thanked and credited the Embassy of Liberia near Beijing, China for playing an important role in fostering the partnership that culminated into establishing the Letter of Intent. “I’m very delighted that Buchanan is about to get connected and hopefully become a part of the global village.”
The Grand Bassa County senator hailed the intent as something that Buchanan city can learn from Pingdingshan considering the rapid transformation and achievement the city has made over such a short time – highlighting the areas of agriculture, information, communication and technology, and infrastructure.
“I believe that establishing this sister-city relationship, we will be able to learn from you in the areas of trade and commerce, technology, health and education; but more importantly, both cities will explore the possibilities of establishing business ventures in the county that would contribute to Government’s pro-poor agenda,” he stressed, noting that he looks forward to a relationship that benefits both cities.
Though quite optimistic, Senator Kaipay highlighted the numerous challenges faced by Buchanan city – lack of electricity, pipe borne water, transportation and road connectivity to other parts of the county, health care and education. However, the Grand Bassa County senator noted that the opportunities outweigh the challenges. “The future is bright. With your experience and support, we can make Buchanan city one of the best in Africa,” he predicts; indicating that based upon the Chinese experience both peoples can work together to develop programs to empower the population with jobs and education.
What happens next? The Pingdingshan City is to formally inform the Chinese Foreign Ministry about their intent to establish a sister city relationship with Buchanan; after which both cities will develop a Memorandum of Understanding that will detail what the cooperation between both cities will entail. This will then be formally signed by the appropriate authorities.