City to City Partnerships and Implications for Local Government Operations: A Case Study of Harare (Zimbabwe) and Munich (Germany) Twinning Arrangement

City to City Partnerships and Implications for Local Government Operations: A Case Study of Harare (Zimbabwe) and Munich (Germany) Twinning Arrangement

Elmond Bandauko (The University of Western Ontario, Canada) and Tinashe Bobo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4165-3.ch003

Abstract

International city cooperation of sister city partnerships has become one of the important strategies to improve urban competitiveness, promote city development and urban development, as well as to create partnerships that can promote city agendas. Cities across the world have implemented or are implementing the concept of twinning, in which one urban local authority can partner with other local authorities in the world. Several studies have been done on international city cooperation especially in the European context. However, there is a paucity of knowledge on city twinning in Zimbabwe. This chapter seeks to examine the implications on local government operations through the twinning concept, using Harare and Munich as units of analysis. Overall, Harare has since twinned with Munich, in which the two cities cooperate in the areas of human capital development, capacity building, and information technology for cities. This development has seen Harare registering some improvements in terms of local government operations.
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Background

City twinning which is referred to as city-to-city partnership is a concept whereby towns and cities in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired. The main goal for such partnerships is fostering human contact and cultural links (Structure Dialogue, 2017). City twinning is described in different terms such as sister cities, twin sisters, municipal international cooperation (MIC), city-to-city cooperation, decentralised cooperation and many others. This concept of city twinning marks a paradigm shift from the classical “donor-recipient” model to a more collaborative and mutually beneficial type of partnership where both parties join their resources to achieve common benefits (Structure Dialogue, 2017). Normally city twinning is spearheaded by a joint decision taken by two local governments to work together and encourage exchanges between their respective constituencies. According to Structure Dialogue (2017), City twinning can also be defined in terms of its geographic orientation. For instance, there are North-North linkages, North-South linkages and South-South linkages. North-North linkages comprises most of the city-city partnerships in the world. These largely focus on socio cultural issues and exchanges of people and increasingly include technical/professional cooperation activities and economic development components. Joenniemia and Jańczak (2017), supports this idea by arguing that Twinning is about the common historical origins and current mutual relations and also their potential for future cooperation. North-South linkages are aimed at development cooperation. The Harare-Munich partnership is an example of a North-South linkage. North-South linkages are still very few and recently they have been increasing and strengthening. South-South linkages promotes the relationship between southern areas through learning from each other. The main idea is that southern communities are dealing with the same types of problems and therefore can learn from solutions developed by one another.

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