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Johannesburg ‘needs skilled foreigners to boost economy’ Print E-mail
17 March 2017
GEC Joburg

For Johannesburg to be a future global city, it would need to attract African foreigners who would bring with them skills to boost the economy.

This was said by Collen Masango, Director in the Office of the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Cllr Sharon Peetz, during a panel discussion on “Future Global Cities” at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) at the Sandton Convention Centre this week.

More than 4 000 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, researchers and policymakers from 160 countries around the globe had gathered in Sandton to chart the way forward for the world's start-ups under the theme: “Digital Disrupt”.

Masango said cities such as Johannesburg were seen as “cities of hope” to many people across the continent. He said Johannesburg, as the second-most economic vibrant city in Africa, received at least 10 000 people every month, most of whom came from various parts of South Africa as well as the rest of the continent.

“We’ve embraced foreign nationals in the City of Johannesburg but as things currently stand, we don’t have much to be proud of as we’re being [wrongly] labelled as a xenophobic city,” said Masango.

He was making reference to a wave of xenophobic attacks that took place in and around Johannesburg recently.

Julius Muia, Director-General of Kenya 2030 Vision, said the initiative was aimed at transforming Kenya. “We’ve identified the need to focus on city development. We want to come up with cities that are planned and that relate to the needs of the people.”

He added that the vision wanted to create cities that provided for the needs of the people. “We don’t have resources to build huge cities in Kenya, hence we’re focusing on developing our cities in a very structured way,” said Muia.

He said future global cities were going to be planned because governments had learnt from the past.

Mayor of Surabaya in Indonesia Tiri Rismaharini said the way to building a future global city was by being honest with challenges such as unemployment and poverty.

“To prepare to be a global city of the future, we need to pay attention to various sectors and build interconnected ecosystems,” said Rismarini.

She said, for example, Surabaya provided healthcare and education services for free and had a programme to provide housewives in poor families with specific skills.

“We’re going to be a global city. That’s why we have worked so hard to decrease the poverty rate to 15%. Young people are trained to be entrepreneurs through a programme called Young Warrior.”


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Last Updated on 17 March 2017