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Madison to consider Ethiopian city as 10th in sister city program

August 6, 2018

An Ethiopian city could become the 10th municipality in Madison’s sister city program.

A group of Madison residents have submitted an application that would make Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, a sister city of the Wisconsin capital. If approved by the Madison City Council, it would be the second city from an African nation to join the cultural program that promotes the exchange of ideas.

The application notes some of the major similarities between Madison and the city in the East African nation are their capital status for their respective states or regions, the presence of large public universities and their proximity to lakes.

In Bahir Dar’s case, it is Lake Tana, which is Ethiopia’s largest lake and has a surface area roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Madison could provide insight to Bahir Dar on how to address issues with a recent invasive species discovered in the city’s lake and better ways to create bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, the application said.

According to the application, the mayor of Bahir Dar recently visited Madison.

In 2016, the City Council adopted Kanifing, Gambia, as its ninth sister city and the first one from an African nation. The other sister cities include: Ainaro, East Timor; Arcatao, El Salvador; Camaguey, Cuba; Freiburg, Germany; Mantova, Italy; Obihiro, Japan; Tepatitlán, Mexico; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

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