This event aligns with the overarching theme of "Building a Better Africa and a Better World." The BRICS mechanism, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, aims to promote peace, security, development, and cooperation.

This roadshow serves as preparation for the upcoming BRICS Summit scheduled to take place in August 2023. The objective of this platform is to encourage conversations about the challenges facing the Eastern Cape Province as an investment destination, while highlighting programs and opportunities for economic development.

Honourable Minister, the decision by both the Department of Small Business Development and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to host the third leg of the BRICS outreach in our region offers a real opportunity for the Eastern Cape Province to showcase its investment value proposition.

Buffalo City Metro is intensifying its investment drive both domestically and internationally.

In 2018, Buffalo City Metro proudly hosted the BRICS Friendship Cities, Local Governments Cooperation, and Urbanization Forum.

The conference was a resounding success, resulting in several partnerships with BRICS countries, particularly China. Through these partnerships, we developed numerous successful programs, including an exchange activity where 20 students benefited from our sister city, the City of Jinhua, China.

Through our international relations program, we are eager to pursue partnerships in Brazil, India, and Russia, as we have identified several opportunities.

With the envisaged expansion of BRICS countries, we firmly believe that even more opportunities exist for us to tap into, which can significantly transform our cities and province.

We are strategically repositioning Buffalo City as a Distinguished City for investment promotion through the development of robust infrastructure.

With Transnet committing to the Port of East London infrastructure expansion over the next 10 years, we see immense opportunities to grow our economy by supporting increased volumes in the port and developing the passenger terminal to accommodate more passenger liners at East London Harbour.

This expansion will have immeasurable benefits for our tourism industry, which has experienced a decline. By growing the tourism economy, we can revitalize numerous small businesses in our city.

Honourable Premier, we recently met with a delegation from the South African China Industry and Commercial Investment Promotion Union, who expressed interest in investing in our agricultural sector. Their focus lies in livestock exports and maximizing the use of our wetlands for rice farming.

This presents tremendous potential for local farmers to access international markets, not only for the Metro but also for all municipalities, from BCMM to the Wild Coast and to the Lesotho Border. According to the trade flow and foreign direct investment report produced by ECDC, the top three most exported commodities to China by the province are wool, raw hides and skins, and edible fruits and nuts.

In our efforts to strengthen collaborations with BRICS countries, we participated in a virtual business seminar between the City of Chongqing in China and South Africa back in March.

China has a strong foothold in the ICT sector, which is why it is crucial for us to partner and collaborate with them to improve the efficiency of our Metro and enhance the safety of our businesses and citizens.

I would also like to inform you that on the 29th and 30th of June 2023, the Metro will host a government and business delegation from the People's Republic of China, led by His Excellency the Ambassador.

The visit will primarily focus on partnership and investment in the city, and we hope that the discussions during this visit will impact the BRICS Summit Agenda to be held in Durban in August 2023.

Your visit today, Honourable Minister and Esteem guests encourages us as the Metro to focus on strengthening partnerships at the city level, with other cities in the BRICS countries to attract interest and investment into our city. We therefore welcome your support in all our future endeavours.

A warm welcome

I thank you.”