Mayor Sylvester Turner and a 24-member delegation leave on Friday, October 28 on an investment and trade mission to South Africa to promote Houston as a business gateway and tourist destination. 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, President of the Texas Medical Center Dr. Bobby Robbins, Greater Houston Partnership Senior Vice President Robert Pertierra and Visit Houston Senior Vice President Jorge Franz along with representatives from the Houston Port Authority, Houston Airport System and several members of Houston-based companies will accompany Mayor Turner.
The trade delegation will visit with the First Lady of South Africa Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma and the Mayors of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Meetings will primarily focus on energy, aerospace and healthcare opportunities. In Cape Town, Mayor Turner will also give remarks at the Annual General Meeting of the World Energy Cities Partnership (WECP).
“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. If you want to do business on the African continent, South Africa is a great jumping off point.”
In 2015, trade between Houston and South Africa was approximately $1 billion, making Houston the third busiest gateway for U.S. – South Africa trade by value. Exports to South Africa include motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, chemical products, electrical machinery, oil and refined products, plastic products, optic and photographic instruments and precious metals. Imports include organic chemicals, mineral fuels, iron and steel, aluminum products, motor vehicles and parts and edible fruit and nuts.
Houston firms with major operations in South Africa include, but are not limited to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Baker Hughes, Inc., Dresser-Rand Company, KRB, Inc. and Schlumberger Limited.
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. The economic powerhouse of Johannesburg generates 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, mostly through manufacturing, retail and service industry sectors. Top global companies such as McDonald’s, Nokia, Toyota and Coca-Cola have their South African headquarters in the city which is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the center of large-scale gold and diamond trade. Pretoria is a city characterized by service and hi-tech industries, and research and educational institutions. Cape Town is the second largest city in the country and is located at the southern tip of Africa.
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