INTERNATIONAL journalists from Brazil, Russia and China – all Brics member countries – are in South Africa for a week-long infrastructure media tour, hosted by Brand South Africa.
The purpose of the tour is to drive a positive perception change about the country and its people to the international community, in line with the Brand South Africa international mandate.
“Our reputation as a country is important as it affects our national competitiveness, which impacts on investment, jobs, growth and conversely on our national sense of pride and social cohesion.
This exercise is an important step [in] attracting foreign direct investment, enabling trade and supporting efforts towards seeding a positive perception about South Africa with international investors and the global community at large,” noted Miller Matola, Brand South Africa’s chief executive officer.
The delegation travelled on the Gautrain, a mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province, linking Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport, making their way to the Sheraton Hotel in Tshwane on 24 June. Here, they were addressed by Tshwane’s deputy city manager, Lindiwe Kwele, who spoke about the city’s long-term growth and development strategy, the Tshwane 2055 Vision.
This Vision, which is in the final stages of being drawn up, will serve as a guide to turning the South African capital into “a Smart City” for its residents. The roll-out of smart meters was one of the bold steps the city is undertaking to build a smart city, said Kwele.
She explained that the Vision for 2055 was inspired by the Freedom Charter, which was ratified in 1955. The Freedom Charter was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress and its allies, the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People’s Congress. It is characterised by its opening statement: The people shall govern!
Tshwane 2055 is busy implementing Smart City programmes, such as Smart economy, Smart people, Smart govern, Smart mobility, and Smart partnerships. Its A Re Yeng bus transit system was also high on the agenda at the meeting. It will convert the city, which was built for the use of cars, to one built for affordable, reliable and accessible public transport.
Brand South Africa aims to mobilise the global South African network behind programmes of investment recruitment, skills identification, mentoring, skills transfer, study exchange and work experience initiatives. The delegation includes experts in the fields of international affairs, finance, and business.
Qin Chen from China works for Caixin Century, a leading magazine, and reports on economic and finance news. It has a weekly circulation of about 240 000 and is distributed in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as in 35 second-tier cities catering to political, financial, industrial and academic leaders.
Chen is a senior reporter on the finance and international desk. She has had one-on-one interviews with, among others, the former American national security adviser, Douglas Paal; the Belgian vice-prime minister, Didier Reynders; the Polish central bank governor, Marek Belka; Slawomir Majman, the president of Invest in Poland; and the South African transport minister, Dikobe Ben Martins; as well as many Fortune 500 chief executive officers.
Lu Yifeng is a reporter on Wenhui Daily, a comprehensive daily newspaper run directly by the Communist Party of China Shanghai Committee. It reports on the latest Chinese, international and financial news and offers its readers an authoritative, in-depth analysis on current trends. He is the editor of the international desk and is in charge of planning and editorial, which covers Sino-United States relations, the Asia Pacific region and Brics.
Brazilian Davi Etelvino is the publisher of Rodovias & Vias, an infrastructure magazine. The reader profile ranges from investors and politicians to entrepreneurs and technicians.
The monthly magazine distributes over 30 000 copies to leading companies, government departments and the country’s national and regional congresses.
Lúcia de Camargo is a reporter and sub-editor on Brazil’s Diáario do Comércio newspaper. It was founded in 1925 and is edited and published by the Associação Commerial de São Paulo. It prints four publications a week in 23 Brazilian states.
Russian journalist Alexander Kokcharov is an infrastructure reporter and London correspondent on Expert News Magazine. The magazine is a business weekly and an analytical publication published every Monday. It has a circulation of 70 000, including 40 000 in Moscow.
The media tour ends on 27 June in Port Elizabeth. The delegation will visit the port to view the state-of-the-art motor vehicle terminal, which is able to load and offload one vehicle every 30 seconds.