U.S. Embassy Pretoria hosts former Mayor of Washington DC



To encourage dialogue between the United States and South Africa on best practices in city management and urban revitalisation, the US Embassy in Pretoria hosted former Mayor of Washington DC, Anthony Williams recently.

Williams’ visit provided an opportunity to renew the relationship between two world capitals, Washington DC and the City of Tshwane.

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During his five-day visit, Williams met with Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga. They conducted a range of outreach activities including remarks at the Yali Southern African Regional Leadership Centre at Unisa and the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture of the University of Pretoria, as well as roundtable discussions with key organisations focused on urban revitalisation such as Wits City Institute, the Centre for Development and Enterprise, Gauteng Growth and Development Agency and South African Cities Network.

Williams served two consecutive terms as Mayor of Washington DC from 1999 to 2008 and is currently the CEO of the Federal City Council, an organisation focusing the creative and administrative talents of Washington’s business and professional leaders on major problems and opportunities facing the district.

Throughout his visit, he drew upon his lessons learned as a successful mayor and emphasised the importance of open governance.

“It is important for a leader to forge relationships as there needs to be a perception that government is open. South Africa is powerful. The entrepreneurial zeal is very high. South Africans have that drive. This is a huge advantage in terms of achieving growth,” said Williams.

His visit was one of several exchanges and professional development programmes hosted by the US Embassy in Pretoria throughout the year. These programmes, sponsored by the US Department of State, promote dialogue and encourage mutual understanding between Americans and South Africans.

Shanice Naidoo

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