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In April, 2015, after a long and hard fought campaign in which volunteers knocked on almost 4 thousand doors during a brutal Wisconsin winter, a Madison resident, of Gambian descent called Samba Baldeh was elected to the Madison Common Council. After the votes were tallied, Mr. Baldeh outpolled his rival, a long term incumbent by 32 votes to become Alderman for District 17 in the far north/east side of the city.  He became the first African to ever do so in the history of the city.

 After his election, Alder Baldeh was appointed to several committees, including Madison’s Sister City Committee. This committee seeks to create and develop lasting friendships on the human level and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and views between peoples of different backgrounds and cultures. The city had 8 such relationships with other cities around the world but none in Africa. It didn’t take long before the new alderman with African heritage was summoned to a meeting by Mayor Paul Soglin to discuss the possibility of establishing a sister city partnership with a city on the African continent. No countries were specified.

 As his practice and belief are availing equal opportunity to all, his discussion and the intent of the mayor in this regard were posted and shared on the AAM (African Association of Madison) email distribution list. Jerreh Kujabi then contacted Alderman Baldeh and informed him about his intent to convene a committee to begin exploring the possibility of establishing a sister city relationship between the city of Madison and a city in The Gambia. No other responses were received from the listserv.

 A select group of dedicated individuals from within our local community were contacted and informed of this project. Not only were these individuals receptive of the idea but they also volunteered to serve on the exploratory committee. The original founding members can be found on our application packet (not included in this report). In late July of 2015, an informative meeting was held to which Ms. Jo Oyama Miller, chair-person of the Sister City Collaboration Committee, was invited. She enlightened the group about the City of Madison sister city program, the requirements, and the entire process of establishing such a partnership. Acting on the information obtained, the group developed a framework and deliberated on the selection of a city in The Gambia. Eventually, Kanifing Municipal Council was selected. After a series of meetings, the committee was formalized with Jerreh Kujabi as acting-chair. This committee would steer the agenda for the establishment of a formal sister city relationship between Madison and Kanifing.

 This resulted in the exchange of volumes of requisite correspondences between the sister city committee on one hand and the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) on the other. Protocols highlighting desired areas of cooperation in education, health, culture and the environment were subsequently drafted and mutually agreed to. Another key requirement of the process was to identify a non-profit entity that operates locally within the municipality that will coordinate with the sister city committee to execute programs. FAWEGAM (Forum for African Women Educationalists – The Gambia Chapter) was selected. More about their programs and activities can be found on their website –

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Madison Kanifing Sister City

Madison Kanifing Sister City

The Madison-Kanifing Sister City is a registered 501(C) (3) that undertakes projects that promote social and economic development.

It was an incredible honor to be part of Wisconsin’s first trade-oriented visit to West Africa. I traveled to the Gambia and Nigeria for this historic “foreign direct investment mission” with executives from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. In my head, I keep reviewing fast-moving scenes from the past week, from the warmth welcome in Banjul to one of the largest markets in Sub-Saharan Africa in Lagos. In the past, I never imagined I would be on Gambian Radio and Television or “Coffee Time with Peter Gomez” with WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes or witnessing the excellent efforts of The Gambia’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency, bringing businesses to meet us at an extremely well-organized forum. There is so much to promote about Wisconsin’s key industries, food and beverage, manufacturing, biohealth, energy, water technology, and more. Africa is a continent with a rapidly growing population and emerging markets. It is also rich in natural resources, including minerals, oil, and gas. It offers opportunities for trade and investment in various sectors, including agriculture, energy, technology, infrastructure, and consumer goods. Engaging in business with Africa can open up new markets for Wisconsin businesses and contribute to economic growth.Economic activity involves relationship, involves learning about and knowing each other, and the culture of places we may not be familia with. Economic activity is a form of connection. It is about the people. I think about the people I represent here in the 48th Assembly District and the state and I want to do all I can to communicate the value of what we do and the opportunities here. I think about the people where I came from, and the role I can play in highlighting the value of what they do, what they offer to the world, and how we all benefit from connection. This is mutually beneficial. And I get to be doubly proud, as a Wisconsinite, and as an African.Engaging in business with African nations can also strengthen cultural and diplomatic ties. I can’t wait for a Wisconsin Trade Mission to Sub-Saharan Africa soon, so some of my fellow policy makers can share my experience and the importance of the relationship with the continent. ... See MoreSee Less
Speaker’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence @ Green Bay. ... See MoreSee Less
International students play a crucial role in the United States, contributing to various aspects of society and the economy. I am about to get into this conversation with international students and faculty members at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. My appreciation to director and deputy director Scott Pierson & Danielle Clorizio for the arrangements. ... See MoreSee Less

Our Team

Jerre at O'Keeffe

Jerreh Kujabi 

Chair – Planning Commitee

Kora Showcase

Nyima jabang

Chair – Outreach COMMITTEE


Musa Jallow

Chair – Madison-Kanifing Liaison 

leon 22

Leon bettis 

Chair – Technology Committee

Samba Baldeh

Samba Baldeh



Fatou Cessay

Chair – Planning Commitee

Our Partners

Get in touch

P.O. Box 70817
Madison, WI 53707

Call Us

Call : 608-535-9508