• June 17th, 2019
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Twinning agreements: What purpose do they serve?



Twinning sgreements are not a new concept to human society. Twinning links have been in existence for years, dating back to Europe in the second century. 
These links were in the early years confined to towns and cities (local authorities). Links have since then been established between schools, churches, libraries, port authorities, airports, radio  and television stations, postal services and other community and welfare organizations, district, regional and provincial governments.
Twinning agreements are either legal or social agreements between two towns or cities to promote trade and tourism. Institutions, organizations and second and third tier governments make a commitment to engage in exchanges and shared activities with a view to enrich partners.  The purpose is to find strength in their unity.  
For a long time twinning was considered to be a fruitless activity. This thought is now deemed redundant as since World War 2, twinning agreements have proliferated to promote peace and cultural exchange and has seen some worthy success.
According to research by McKinsey, one- third of the world’s GDP will come from just 100 cities. At the heart of this change is globalisation which is increasing trade flows between regions, and is shifting economic power towards the emerging economics of China and India or the cities of these regions. 
“It’s cities and not nations that are driving the global economy, and are the engines for growth through productivity, innovation and job creation,” say David Adam, founder of Global Cities which provides strategic advice to cities on positioning, branding and investment opportunities.
Therefore, it is critical for leaders to understand how global economic factors can affect the competitiveness of their city/region and determine how their unique assets can service the impacts of globalisation so that they can become beneficiaries of new trade flows, direct investment, job creation and innovation and remain an attractive proposition in a world economy.
This comes about by seeking a strategic partnership with a “sister” city which allows for exchange of knowledge and ideas about various matters. Partnering with a city with experience in certain matters allows for expedient resolution of issues for the new partner city. Investment can be expedited as there are direct links between the two locales’ chambers of commerce. 

Choosing the right partnership requires detailed market analysis combined with city-regional information to identify the potential for synergies between two cities/regions.  
Some of the commonalities are to be found in 
Historical experiences
Geographical nearness
Tourism
Cultural characteristic
Language spoken etc.
These no longer form the core reason for twinning. Most twinning agreements currently are centred around:
Infrastructure and housing
Cooperation in sanitation, harnessing of energy
Promoting technical exchange and investment
Namibian towns, cities and councils have entered into many twinning agreements. These include
//Kharas Regional Council with Northern Cape
City of Windhoek with  Chinese cities like Nanjnin and Shajhai
Khomas Regional Council with China Province Jiangsu
With regard to that between the //Kharas Regional Council and the Northern Cape of South Africa, the twinning agreement has allowed leadership of both sides to assess opportunities and allow learning capacity for both sides. It has allowed for smoother engagement between businesses on both sides and the potential to be harnessed is being developed.
All in all, twinning agreements, when utilised properly, stand to greatly benefit the inhabitants of the subject areas, providing means for cultural exchange, improved management, availing of new ideas and concepts for improved service, among others.


Staff Reporter
2019-05-31 09:39:12 16 days ago

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