June 11, 2015 – The City of Houston signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Cape Town, South Africa, the outcome of over a year’s worth of interactions and correspondence that resulted from Mayor Annise D. Parker’s inaugural trade mission to the South African city in 2014. This agreement is the first of its kind between the two cities, and paves the way for closer cooperation in a variety of fields of business activity, positioning Houston companies to benefit from the major and long-term developments taking place in the region.
Mayor de Lille’s visit was in response to Mayor Parker’s trade mission to South Africa in early 2014. Mayor Parker, along with State Senator Rodney Ellis, HAS Director Mario Diaz and a business delegation of Houston-based corporate representatives, traveled to several cities in South Africa to promote Houston and attend the C40 Cities Conference on sustainability. Extending her mission to the city of Cape Town, Mayor Parker established a rapport with Mayor de Lille and several key executives in Western Cape Province, laying the groundwork for the document that both Mayors signed in early June.
One of the primary focuses of Mayor de Lille’s trip to Houston is to further explore a concept for developing a power plant and independent power grid in Cape Town, which would greatly increase the city’s energy reliability and sustainability. According to a recent government census, Texas is the number one producer of electricity in the United States, with a large number of these electricity producers based out of Houston. As a powerhouse in the sector, Houston is ideally situated for providing consultation and services related to Cape Town’s energy infrastructure.
In addition to signing the MOU, Mayor de Lille toured the city and met with representatives from several leaders in the field, updating them as to Cape Town’s long term investment plans. South Africa is an emerging market, with abundant natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, energy, and communication industries and a stock exchange that ranks among the top 20 in the world. The Houston/Galveston Customs District is South Africa’s fifth largest gateway for U.S. trade by value, evidence of an already robust trade relationship.
“Houston and Cape Town have in common a shared entrepreneurial spirit and vision for sustainability,” said Mayor Parker. “Signing this agreement is positive step towards furthering that vision and enhancing our relationship with one of Africa’s most successful economic hub cities.”
To find out more about the agreement and Houston’s growing connections with Cape Town we encourage you to reach out to the Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs at (832) 393-0851 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.