Houston International Trade Development Council’s Trade Mission to South Africa a Great Success

Written by Publisher Cynthia L. Blandford

Under the leadership of Mr. Val Thompson, President and CEO, Houston International Trade Development Council (HITDC), the trade mission to both Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted by the Honorable Houston City Councilman Honorable Edward Pollard, was a great success. As the Publisher and CFO of iF in Atlanta, Georgia, I had the honor and privilege to cover the story and to share the great photos of this amazing journey to South Africa with you. 

The Trade Mission to South Africa included fourteen trade delegates from the greater Houston area, who were seeking trade and investment opportunities between Houston and South Africa. A powerful Business Briefing  took place in Cape Town at Wesgro with outstanding support from U.S. Consulate leadership Tyler Hacking,  Jaisvir Sewpaul,  Chandra Baier, and Steve Zagami who discussed doing business in South Africa and who also provided a security briefing.

The U.S. Consulate team was also instrumental in bringing to the table Hon. Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Erica Joubert Head: Export Promotion, Wesgro, Cape Town & Western Cape Trade Promotion and representatives from the Cape Town Sea Port, Airport, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and others.  

The second portion of the HITDC Trade Mission included a trip to Johannesburg where another Business Briefing was held at GIBS Business School.  Outstanding support was provided by the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, under the capable leadership of Cynthia Griffin and Mike Bromley, with support from Tanya Rogers and others.   

Their efforts to help organize the Business Briefing in Joburg with the City of Johannesburg’s Economic Development Department and Joburg Tourism as well as Gauteng’s Tourism Authority and others to help further discussions on how we can work together to help boost travel, trade and tourism in Johannesburg, proved extremely useful and promising. 

In particular, our engagements and interactions with Prosper Africa, USAID, Power Africa, USDFC and USTDA and others afforded our trade mission delegates the opportunity to better understand the financial instruments available for increasing trade and investment between the USA and South Africa. Of particular interest are the on-going discussions with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and preparations being made for Delta Air Lines direct flights from Atlanta, Georgia to Cape Town beginning in December 2022.  Exploring a direct flight from Houston to South Africa was also mentioned in discussions with the U.S. Embassy, ACSA and others where we are hopeful that there will be a positive outcome.    

I also want to acknowledge how pleased we were with the Braai reception for the delegation that was held in honor of His Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Reuben E. Brigety, II, hosted in the residence of Honorable Vincent Spera, Consul General in Johannesburg and sponsored by Honorable Pollard. 

Finally, the trade delegation participated in cultural and historic activities including visits to Mandela’s Home, Soweto, Apartheid Museum, Hector Pieterson Museum, District Six Museum, Seven Sisters Winery, to name a few.

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