Supervisors of Loudoun County in the northern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, has declared that Loudoun will be adding new jurisdictions to its sister city partnerships this year. One of the three cities in consideration will include the port city of Tema in Ghana.
Phyllis Randall, Chair At-Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, confirmed this at an event in mid-April 2023 and explained the possibility of an existential relationship between Tema and Loudoun.
According to Mrs. Randall, the board deliberated diversifying the county’s sister city interests to the African continent, and Ghana was mentioned along with South Africa and other African countries. But Ghana “kept showing up” based on the criteria they were taking into account.
The option for Ghana was agreed on and the Board of Supervisors on February 21 voted to approve Tema as one of the county’s new sister cities along with Greater Noida in India and Canelones in Uruguay. To seal the agreement, Mrs. Randall will be in Ghana to sign the sister city pact with Tema on behalf of the county in June.
“I want to say congratulations to Loudoun County on the formation of this partnership with my beloved city where I was born. As a proud native of Tema, I am thrilled to see my community connecting with a new global partner, and I truly believe that this relationship will create opportunities for cultural exchange, economic growth, and lasting friendships,” said Oral Ofori (founder of theafricandream.co), who spoke from Virginia, U.S., where he also thanked Kingsley Obaji for his role in making the alliance possible.
It is anticipated that the agreement will serve as a “perpetuity that would be historically remembered forever,” even after Mrs. Randall has finished serving her term on the county board.
“Sister cities are one of the most important tools we have to enter international business development,” according to Buddy Rizer, Loudoun County’s Department of Economic Development Executive Director.
A sister city relationship is formed when the highest elected or appointed official in one country signs a formal agreement with a community in another country on behalf of their communities endorsing a “sister city/sister cities” relationship.
Each sister city organization is independent and pursues the activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community including municipal, business, trade, educational, and cultural exchanges and projects with their sister city. These partnerships promote economic, cultural and student exchange programs.
Over the years for diverse reasons, Loudoun County has developed sister city relationships with cities across continents that include Gangneung City, South Korea; Goyang City, South Korea; Holmes County,Mississippi, U.S.; Karsiyaka Municipality, Izmir Province, Turkey; Main-Taunus-Kreis, Germany; and New Taipei, Taiwan.
The County considers Tema a strategic city for partnership. In February, loudounnow.com published that “Tema is Ghana’s largest seaport city, handling about 80% of Ghana’s import and export cargo, and the country’s largest industrial hub, with ongoing investments in fiber optic connectivity and plans for a new data center…”
Aside managing imports and exports from Ghana, the port city also serves as a hub for transit freight going to landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and countries in Northern Africa.