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Commemorating Two Decades of Strong Collaboration: Ostend Mayor’s Visit to Banjul

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Group photo of Ostend and Banjul City Council officials

By Annette Camara

Marking a remarkable 20-year milestone, the partnership between the Banjul City Council and the City of Ostend in Belgium has reached new heights. United by a shared vision and commitment to the sustainable development of their respective cities, this enduring alliance has proven to be mutually beneficial over the years.

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the City Link Ostend Banjul partnership, highlighted by the visit of Mayor Bart Tommelein, underscores the strengthened impact and benefits that have resulted from this enduring relationship. Not only has it fostered cultural exchange and understanding, but it has also played a vital role in the tangible transformation of Banjul, as evidenced by the recent visit of Mayor Bart Tommelein and his delegation.

A pivotal moment during this anniversary was the renewal of the City Link Agreement between Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe of Banjul and Mayor Bart Tommelein of Ostend. This renewal solidifies their commitment to sustainable development, emphasizing the significance of a long-term collaboration between these two coastal cities.

The visit encompassed a comprehensive tour of project sites, showcasing the outcomes of the European Union’s generous 3.1 million euros investment. Noteworthy locations included the dumpsite perimeter fence construction, the new boardwalk, and the seaport, highlighting the commitment of both cities to environmental preservation and sustainable development.

A standout initiative during the visit was the Crab Island Sustainable Development Centre, situated on a historically significant 1.6-hectare site. This center is poised to become a hub for innovation, education, and entrepreneurship, featuring facilities such as a recording studio, radio station, events hall, and more—all powered by renewable energy. Mayor Bart Tommelein expressed admiration for the progress made in the center’s construction.

Deputy Mayor Silke Bierens commended the Banjul City Council and the project team for their dedication to transforming Crab Island, evident in the vibrant urban vegetable garden, the bike repair training center, and collaborations with local initiatives.

Lord Mayor Bart Tommelein stressed the importance of sustainability in managing the Crab Island Sustainable Development Centre, proposing the establishment of a board comprising key stakeholders to ensure competent and independent management. The goal is to make Crab Island a self-sustaining center, contributing to the prosperity of Banjul.

The Ostend delegation acknowledged Banjul’s commitment to environmental conservation through greening activities on the beach and in the inner city. These achievements, rooted in cooperation and mutual understanding, serve as an exemplary model for international collaboration, contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

During the visit, the delegation engaged with local authorities, including a meeting with representatives of the Gambia Ports Authority to explore potential partnerships. This collaborative exploration, grounded in the shared vulnerability of coastal cities to climate change, reinforces the commitment of both cities to combat coastal erosion and promote sustainable urban development.

As we celebrate two decades of friendship and partnership, the City Link Ostend Banjul collaboration stands as a testament to the positive impact that international cooperation can have on communities. May this partnership continue to thrive, bringing about positive change and prosperity for both Ostend and Banjul in the years to come.

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