On October 28, Mayor Sylvester Turner and a 24-member delegation departed for South Africa to promote Houston as a business gateway and tourist destination, as well as attend the World Energy Cities Partnerships’ Annual General Meeting to deliver the organization’s keynote speech, where he lobbied for the upcoming World Petroleum Congress bid vote.
The delegation included the Honorary Consul General to South Africa and Texas State Representative Helen Giddings, Texas State Representative Borris Miles, City Council Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis, City Council Member Amanda Edwards, and representatives from the Texas Medical Center, Greater Houston Partnership, Visit Houston, Houston Port Authority, Houston Airport System and several members of Houston-based companies.
Throughout his trip, Mayor Turner was greeted by top South African leaders and ministers of government, such as the First Lady of South Africa Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma, Executive Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Johannessburg Herman Mashaba, Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga, Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, the Premier of the Northwest Province Supra Mahumapelo, US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, the ministers of International Affairs, Education, and Energy.
“This trade mission is an opportunity to connect with South African companies and create sustainable relationships for business and tourism,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Houston is positioned to be a long-term partner for energy, manufacturing and healthcare.”
With an annual trade of over $1 billion, Houston is South Africa’s third-largest US trading partner by value. In addition to these ties, last year Cape Town joined Houston as a fellow member of the World Energy Cities Partnership, an international organization dedicated to the exchange of city best practices, information, and collaborative efforts between 19 mayors worldwide.
As a country whose major cities are experiencing the biggest growth spurt in over 65 years, South Africa is set to become an even more essential trading partner in the years to come. And with our newly strengthened trade and diplomatic ties, Houston will be ready to work with our new partners in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and the Northwest Province.