Black Mayors link programs with BurkinaFaso; Mayor Norwood calls it "meaningful exchange"

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper USAfricaonline.com

In keeping with their goal of reaching out to the international community of Africans, the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) in the U.S is joining forces with the Mayors from Burkina Faso (West Africa) for shared interests and developmental goals. The President of the Black Mayors, Jesse Norwood, mayor of Prichard, Alabama expressed his joy that "We are honored to be in this relationship with our brothers and sisters from Africa, and I am sure that this will be the beginning of a meaningful exchange of people, products and ideas."

Mayor Simon Compaore and the Vice President of the Mayors Association of Burkina Faso, Mayor Alfred Sanou of Bobo Dioulasso, attended NCBM's annual convention in Denver, Colorado in April. "The mayors from Burkina Faso were an integral part of our convention," says Michelle D. Kourouma, Executive Director of NCBM. "When we experienced the Columbine High School shooting in Denver, these mayors telephoned their respective cities and flew their flags at half-mast as did members of our organization; we appreciated their empathy."

The Black Mayors met early August in the capital city of Ouagadougou, where Mayor Simon Compaore heads the more than forty member Mayors Association of Burkina Faso, to sign an official memorandum of agreement declaring a commitment to work together.

According to a statement sent to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper by the communications advisers to the Black Mayors, Bunnie J. Clayton and Roselyn Dailey, some of the major goals of the new effort include sharing "common objectives and to promote and enhance cultural, educational, economic and social activities among their members, their cities and the countries."

Among other things, the mayors have agreed to develop partnerships between their municipalities in order to strengthen economic and community development. These partnerships will be instrumental in creating opportunities for members of each association to experience and explore the other's history, culture, government and politics.

They agreed to engage in the "twinning" of cities between countries and to develop mechanisms whereby each respective community can learn, work and solve problems together through reciprocal cultural, educational, business, and technical exchange programs. NCBM is a twenty-five year old organization with a membership of over 460 African-American mayors who represent cities ranging in population from 100 to over two million. While in Burkina Faso, the NCBM delegation met with the head of state, Blaise Compaore, and other high-ranking officials. This is a significant development for business interests and tourism potentials for continental Africans and African-Americans. USAfricaonline and USAfrica The Newspaper will report additional developments on this emerging grassroots efforts by Mayors in the two continents.
by Chido Nwangwu


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