Cape Town and Atlanta mayors work together to build inclusive global cities

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attends a meeting with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille in South Africa. He was accompanied by Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn. Photo: City of Cape Town / Bruce Sutherland

Mayors Kasim Reed from Atlanta and Patricia de Lille from Cape Town met last week to build closer ties, explore opportunities to grow the two cities’ economies, and discuss best practices.

U.S. Consul General to Cape Town, Teddy Taylor, hosted the two mayors at his residence and welcomed government, civil society, and business leaders to a dialogue about “Empowered Cities” at the American Corner in Cape Town. Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn traveled to Cape Town to participate in a meeting with the two mayors and greet members of the business community who attended a reception at the Consul General’s residence that evening.

During his visit, Mayor Reed said the City of Cape Town was 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,” he said. Reed and his delegation visited GreenCape, the Cape Town Film Studios, and Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (left) and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (middle) participate in the “Empowered Cities” dialogue at the American Corner in Cape Town. John Rowett (right) was the moderator. Picture: Bruce Sutherland / City of Cape Town

Mayor De Lille said the value of working closely with other mayors around the world was that workable plans could be shared instead of reinventing the wheel over and over again as individual cities. “When cities are empowered, things can happen and change more quickly than the national or provincial level.”

Mayor Reed’s visit focused on boosting entrepreneurship, resiliency and the arts and entertainment industries.

In October 2016, De Lille visited Atlanta to exchange ideas on ways to strengthen the two cities’ relationship. The two mayors signed a Letter of Intent where they committed to develop cultural and economic relations and promote further U.S. and South Africa partnerships.

Mayor De Lille said Cape Town was committed to promoting the development of trade and investment relations and to fostering cultural, educational and tourism cooperation.

Mayor Reed said, “Being a mayor or working in public sector is about as close as you will get to being a superhero, because it’s all about making the city a better place for the people who live there.”