The Mayor of Cape Town, South Africa, Patricia de Lille paid a visit to Addis Ababa this week leading a business delegation composed of 15 business executives pooled from various industries such as textile, construction, Furniture, agriculture, chemical, machineries and the like.
She talked about trade, friendship and solidarity with one of the continents fast-growing economies. The career politician, who has served a-decade-and-a-half in parliament, half a decade as mayor and whom former South African President Nelson Mandela called “his favorite opposition politician” arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday for a three-day trade mission in the capital.
“We (South Africans) were once an isolated nation for many years and we never traveled anywhere,” she said. “But Ethiopia is a nation with great history and opportunities and we hope to have a rich bilateral relationship”. With a GDP per capita of more than USD 15,000, Cape Town, the economic powerhouse of South Africa next only to Johannesburg, it is one of the main manufacturing hubs of the Rainbow Nation.
The mayor, a noted outspoken politician also spoke of the challenges of the continent and how trade among African nations should be encouraged, not just trade with western countries. She listed some of the major issues, including youth unemployment, investment on infrastructure and a list of unbinding commitments made by African leaders that are promising yet end up being unfulfilled as some of the major issues that needs to be answered.
She listed some of the major agendas of the continent, not out of pity or doubts, but as commitments that are unbinding – such as the African agenda of 2063, as “a dream on paper”, and wanted to help see them practiced as passionate as they are written.
To the young people of Africa, she reflected how, “when we give them jobs, they will also get their dignity back”. To what is written about the continent, she described as one with potential and great determination and to the media that wrongly covers it in a tragic way such as the Economist, she echoed an ancient word – “you are entitled to your opinion but not facts”.
She also talked of how her city is facing challenges of a drought that is, in her own words, “the worst in 100 years”, how it’s facing water shortages and how it’s overcoming the climate challenges that all society is grappling with. She also spoke highly of Ethiopia’s flag carrier, Ethiopian, and how it can be used to connect the continent in trade more.
By Samuel Getachew