Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker Attends C40 Cities Mayor’s Summit, Leads Trade Delegation to South Africa




January 31, 2014 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker departs today for a week-long visit to South Africa to represent Houston at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayor’s Summit in Johannesburg and lead a Greater Houston Partnership trade delegation of local elected officials and business leaders.


“This will be the first visit of a Houston mayor to South Africa in more than a decade,” said Mayor Parker.  “I look forward to meeting with my C40 colleagues from around the world to share knowledge and discuss ways to impact climate change.  It’s also wonderful that the GHP was able to coordinate a trade mission at the same time.  We will be pursuing opportunities to strengthen economic ties, promote the planned spaceport at Ellington Field and grow our international air service.  It will be a very busy, but productive week.”


Mayor Parker will speak to the entire C40 conference February 5, 2014.  The topic of her speech will be: Measure to Manage: Measurement & Data in Advancing City Climate Agendas.  She will highlight the 26 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction the City has achieved since 2007 and the City’s leadership in renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative transportation.  She will also participate in the release of the Climate Action in Megacities 2.0 report, a quantitative study of efforts to reduce GHG emissions and improve urban resilience to climate change.


The trade mission portion of the mayor’s trip will include meetings with the mayors of Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as visits with high level executives from some of South Africa’s major corporations.  She’ll be discussing investment opportunities in Houston and ways to achieve success in partnership with Houston firms.  There will also be a news conference with South African media.


“Our economy is diverse and robust, and it matches up well with the types of industries that South African entrepreneurs and business people are pursuing,” said Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey.  “Houston is a top U.S. city in several industries including energy, medical and transportation and manufacturing.”


The trade delegation will include State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Councilmember Jack Christie and Houston-area companies ranging from energy and aviation to real estate and international trade and investments.  The delegation will host a “Doing Business with Houston” seminar for South African businesses and investors.  Other city staff accompanying the mayor include Sustainability Director Laura Spanjian, Aviation Director Mario Diaz, and Chief Development Officer Andy Icken.


More than 370 Houston companies report business or trade ties with South Africa.  Of the 214 firms in the Houston region affiliated with subsidiaries in South Africa, 14 are headquartered in Houston.