By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Ties between the city of Banjul in The Gambia and the city of Nanning in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were renewed at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) held on Saturday, 23 July 2016, at the chambers of the Banjul City Council (BCC).
The event was graced by Mr. Abdoulie Bah, the Mayor of Banjul, and his visiting counterpart, Madame Wu Juan, the Mayor of Nanning City.
According to the officials, the ties between the two cities existed since 1987. This was at the time when the former PPP regime maintained diplomatic relations with PRC or mainland China before it was broken by the AFPRC/APRC regime. Recently, the two countries have restored diplomatic relations.
The signing ceremony was also witnessed by the minister of regional government and lands, the vice mayor and her delegation from the City of Nanning in China,including a cultural group, representatives of the Chinese embassy in Banjul, BCC staff, some elders and residents of Banjul, among others.
In his opening statement, Mayor Bah said “the purpose of this meeting is to rekindle the already existing relationship between the two cities of Nanning and Banjul which was established as far back as 1987 under the auspices of former Mayor of Banjul James Gomez”.
Mayor Bah expressed delight for the understanding and the strengtheningof the cooperation between the two cities despite the distance that separates them but which cannot serve as a barrier.
The Banjul mayor told the gathering that he was among the delegation that went to the city of Nanning in the year 1987 when he was councillor of the Banjul City Council. He said it is great that he is now witnessing the revitalisation of the ties after 35 years.
Mayor Bah thanked the people of China for the relationship as well as the councilors and people of Banjul for the support.
“I will also want to thank the ministry of foreign affairs for their advice throughout the process, as well as the ministry of regional government and lands for their support,” he remarked.
Also speaking on the occasion, Madame Wa Juan, the Vice Mayor of Nanning City, expressed her sincere gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to her and her delegation by the BCC. She noted the importance of the renewal of the ties between their two cities.
In giving a background information on Nanning, the Vice Mayor said it is among the 10 greatest cities in China and that it serves as a hub for businesses in both China and other Asian countries.
Madame Yuan said Nanning has a population of 7.4 million people with a 22000 square city area and a GDP of 10.6%.
She noted that Nanning is the ecological city of China.
The Nanning Vice Mayor gave assurance of their commitment towards the strengthening of the bilateral relations between the two cities.
For his part, Mr. Musa Amul Nyassi, Minister of Regional Government and Lands, commended BCC for hosting the event. He also noted that it is the collective responsibility of all Banjulians to ensure that the partnership is effective and mutually beneficial.
Following the formal signing of the MoU, the officials of the two cities exchanged gifts.
An invitation letter was also given to the Mayor of Banjul by the Vice Mayor of Nanning, inviting him and his delegation to go to Nanning City anytime soon.