Sister Cities International President and CEO Mary D. Kane inaugurated the Sister Cities Global Technology Center in Accra, Ghana on March 8, 2012. The center, established by the Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation (AGSCF), is part of  Sister Cities International’s  three-year, 7.5 million dollar, Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP). AUPAP currently implements water, sanitation and health projects in 25 cities in 13 African countries through sister city relationships.

The technology center is equipped with high speed internet and includes facilities for video conferencing and data storage. Adam Kaplan, membership director at Sister Cities International says, “AUPAP seeks to support regional sister city organizations to promote city twinning and engage existing partnerships throughout the continent. This center will help AGSCF serve a number of existing Ghanaian sister cities by providing data, networking, and IT services.” Additionally, the center will be a communication technology training center for elected officials, volunteers, and other sister cities members.

Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, the Ghanian deputy minister of Local Government and Rural Development, commended the project at the inauguration ceremony. He highlighted the importance of the video-conferencing facility in connecting sister cities and reducing associated travel costs.

The inauguration ceremony was part of Ms. Kane’s official visit to Africa. In Ghana, she met with NGOs and sub-national officials to highlight the role of growing sister city partnerships in the socio-economic development of the region. A total of six assemblies in Ghana: Tamale, Akuapem South, Ga East, Ga West, Obuasi and Sekondi-Takoradi are benefitting from a 115,000 dollar grant from AUPAP.

Ms. Kane also met with regional partners in Kenya and Ghana in support of their work in spreading the sister cities concept. She hopes to see more sister city relationships between the US and Africa and south-south twinnings between African countries that regional cooperation.