Accra, Ghana, will be Chattanooga's first sister city on the continent of Africa.
"Our other sister city relationships have enriched our community, grown our economy and broadened our cultural horizons," Mayor Tim Kelly said in a news release announcing the relationship Monday. "It's overdue that we establish one of these connections on the African continent, and I can think of no better partner than Accra. Many Chattanooga residents have West African roots, and we look forward to robust partnerships and cultural exchange, especially for our youth."
The relationship has been in the works for more than a year, the city said, but the timing was fortunate. Accra was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for the NFL on Sunday night, which illustrated the traction the sport is gaining across the globe.
Officials will hold a formal signing ceremony virtually between the two cities on Feb. 29. In the release, Kelly also thanked Accra Mayor Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey and Kanika Wellington-Jones of Chattanooga Sister Cities for making the partnership possible.
Sister city relationships are voluntary diplomatic partnerships between two communities in two countries, usually focused on cultural exchange, according to the city.
The relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities. The programming and logistic work is primarily done by citizens on a volunteer basis.
Chattanooga's other sister cities are: Wuxi, China; Hamm, Germany; Wolfsburg, Germany; Givatayim, Israel; Nizhnii Tagil, Russia, and Tono, Japan.
Accra is the capital of Ghana and the country's largest city, having a population of more than 2 million people in 2010, according to Britannica. Accra is the economic and educational hub of the country, containing head offices or large banks, trading companies and more. Its main manufactures are processed food, lumber and textiles.
Situated on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, Accra is 5,578 miles from Chattanooga.
— Compiled by David Floyd