STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
The City of Cape Town is pleased to welcome the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, and his team on an official visit to our city this week.
Mayor Reed will visit a number of successful local projects with engagements at Oranjiezicht City Farm and GreenCape to explore their work in sustainability strategies and the adoption of viable green economy solutions.
Mayor Reed will also be visiting the Cape Town Film Studios to learn how the city plans to position itself as a hub for the film industry on the African continent, and to explore potential partnerships between the film industries in Atlanta and Cape Town.
Mayor Reed has established significant new initiatives in Atlanta in support of women’s entrepreneurship. He will, therefore, visit the Bandwidth Barn IT initiative to discuss potential partnerships possibilities around women’s entrepreneurship.
The official visit by Mayor Reed is a wide-ranging mission focused on boosting entrepreneurship, resiliency and the arts and entertainment industries.In October 2016, I visited Atlanta to exchange ideas with Mayor Reed on ways to strengthen our relationship and work together on issues of mutual interest for the benefit of our cities and residents.
During my visit, Mayor Reed and I signed a Letter of Intent where we committed to pursuing all avenues to develop cultural and economic relations between Cape Town and Atlanta and promote further US-Africa partnerships.
We are committed to promoting the development of trade and investment relations and to fostering cultural, educational and tourism cooperation; to sharing knowledge on policies designed to promote poverty alleviation, resiliency and sustainability; and to fostering new partnerships in the creative industries, especially in music and film.
Mayor Reed said: ‘Cape Town is a strategically important international partner for the City of Atlanta. Our cities share the same growing entertainment and entrepreneurial industries and face the same issues pertaining to urban development. We also share an important legacy in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the City of Atlanta’s influence on South Africa’s struggle for freedom from apartheid. Atlanta welcomes the opportunity to build on this legacy to create robust, global economies for both our cities as well as to promote cross-continental exchanges and friendship.’
The City of Cape Town has embarked on an Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (the ODTP) to become a more progressive, responsive and customer centric government, to position the city as a forward-looking, globally competitive business city and to improve resource efficiency and security.
In terms of these priorities, there are indeed many similarities that bring the City of Atlanta and Cape Town together.
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 Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Ford Foundation’s Inclusive Growth in Cities campaign.
Mayor Reed and I are finding ways for people, organisations and businesses in our respective cities to create new mutually beneficial relationships.
In discussions between our administrations we have resolved to deepen collaboration on urban resilience, and to support the establishment of the Cape Town Global Academy focused on the urban future, creative cities, and the study and public understanding of the United States.
Building resilience forms part of Goal 11 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, namely making cities ‘inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’.
Both our cities were recently selected in the final tranche of cities to join the 100 Resilient Cities initiative administered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Atlanta has appointed its first Chief Resilience Officer, who is part of Mayor Reed’s delegation and we shall formally announce the appointment of our Chief Resilience Officer in the coming days.
The stresses of economic inequality, aging infrastructure and water-related issues are all areas of possible collaboration through the resilience lens. Both cities are introducing innovative finance mechanisms to support green infrastructure development.
We intend to develop new resilience partnerships and to approach the Rockefeller Foundation for support for these partnerships.
Establishment of the Cape Town Global Academy
Cities are increasingly being recognised as the drivers of progressive change and economic growth in both the United States and South Africa and globally in the New Urban Agenda of Habitat 3. The relationship between cities and national governments is evolving as cities take on increasingly global ambitions and challenges. These developments have been the subject of considerable discussion between myself and Mayor Reed.
There is considerable merit in fostering greater collaboration between multiple cities, urban scholars, philanthropic foundations, and civil society organisations in order to work on the great city challenges of our time.
We have resolved, therefore to endorse the establishment of a global academy in Cape Town, with both cities as founding partners. Cape Town is well positioned to host such an institution due to its growing reputation as the ideas and innovation and events capital of Africa.
The academy will be privately funded, and both Mayors are committed to supporting efforts to raise the requisite funds.
It was agreed that the initial three pillars of the Academy would focus on the study on the Urban Future, on Creative Cities and on the Study and the Public Understanding of the United States. The need to foster African scholarship on and public understanding of the United States could not be clearer. Africa is the only region of the world without substantive study of the United States.
A number of institutions, particularly in the United States, have expressed an interest in supporting the initiative. Work around the institutionalisation of the Academy and further announcements will commence in the second half of this year, with a formal launch planned for next year.
In advancing our discussions, I know that Mayor Reed is as determined as I am to build an inclusive and ever more significant global city. We know in Mayor Reed’s words that ‘cities are stronger when we work together’. We remain committed to doing all we can to meet the aspirations of the residents we serve. I hope Mayor Reed and his team take time to enjoy some of the vibrant and diverse offerings in our city and I look forward to exploring future areas of collaboration with Atlanta.