It is a privilege to be in the great city of Atlanta alongside my counterpart Mayor Kasim Reed, I have followed the history of Atlanta over several decades. Many of its struggles have coincided with the struggles in my own city and country, including the fight against race-based discrimination and the fight against inequality.
I know that many people of Atlanta were at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement and for that, the people of my city are eternally grateful.
It is an honour that I as the Mayor of Cape Town am able to stand here with my Atlanta counterpart and discuss the transformative and progressive ways that we as leaders of city administrations can improve the lives of the people in our cities.
There is already much that brings the City of Atlanta and the City of Cape Town together.
For example, we have both recently been accepted into the final group of members of the 100 Resillient Cities initiative.
By focusing on resiliency, our cities both accept that there is much more that we can do to improve the ability of our people to withstand stresses and shocks, whether they are economic or environmental in nature.
Atlanta, like Cape Town, is also part of the C40 Cities – a network of cities recognised internationally for their efforts to combat climate change.
In addition, Mayor Reed and I are both Champion Mayors of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Ford Foundation’s Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign.
I know that no matter how well our economies perform, there are often structural reasons why some people in our cities are left behind.
This can never be acceptable and for this reason it is important that we constantly seek new ways to ensure that all people feel at home and participate in the economy of our cities.
There is much more that Cape Town and Atlanta can do to explore, share and collaborate together.
Cape Town is becoming the ideas and innovation capital of Africa.
Increasingly people, organisations and corporates are choosing our city as a place to think about their African strategies and to build partnerships with other parts of the continent.
In 2014 Cape Town was the World Design Capital, which is testimony to the creative talent which exists in our city.
A vibrant film sector and music scene contributes to our growing creative industry.
When people think of Cape Town, they so often think of the majestic Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, which towers over our city. That is one of the reasons why Cape Town is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.
But Cape Town, with its diverse economy, world-class financial services and universities, and growing connectivity with the rest of the world, is also the perfect location for new investments into Africa.
By working together, Mayor Reed and I are seeking ways for people, organisations and businesses in our respective cities to create new, mutually beneficial projects.
In discussions between our administrations, we have decided to explore topics such as improving resilience, including how to alleviate poverty in our cities.
We have decided to collaborate on ways to further enhance cultural and musical entrepreneurship in ways that promote economic inclusion. We will work together in sharing knowledge on how great cities like Atlanta and Cape Town can transform their urban environments to improve social inclusion and to enhance economic growth.
There is a significant prospect of landing investments into new projects and programmes in Cape Town that capture the above work. These projects are intended to be privately funded but the City of Cape Town will support them in whatever way it can.
As an ideas capital, Cape Town is well placed to host new investments into initiatives that will enhance the world’s understanding of the great challenges of cities.
Cape Town is not only a great place to live, work, play and invest. It is also a great place to think through and create solutions to the problems that confront our societies.
I look forward to hosting Mayor Reed in Cape Town in the not too distant future, at which time we can reflect on new learnings, progress made, and future areas of collaboration.
God bless the people of Atlanta.
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