By Bonolo Mohlakoana
Mahikeng – The North West Provincial leadership is confident that the visit by the United States Consul General Mr Vincent Spera and his delegation will ultimately facilitate improved collaboration and delivery of services to the people of the province. This emerged following the meetings held between the Consul General and the executive leadership of the provincial government, led by the MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT) Kenetswe Mosenogi on behalf of Premier Kaobitsa Bushy Maape, as well as the leadership of the Mahikeng Local Municipality.
Mr Spera who heads the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, a branch of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa, is responsible for exploring areas for collaboration and investment in the North West, Free State and Gauteng Provinces.
In his meetings with the leadership of the DEDECT and department of Health, Consul General stated that two of the top priorities of the Consulate Johannesburg, and the U.S. Mission more broadly, are sharing prosperity through economic development and improving health outcomes. “With the already existing partnership, particularly on issues of health which include government’s response to HIV, TB and COVID-19 amongst others, we need to determine whether we are sharing the same priorities, the extent to which the partnership is making the desired impact, and where there are challenges, how can we collectively resolve them for the benefit of the North West community”, remarked Consul General Mr Spera.
The delegation also had a discussion on trade and investment opportunities available in the province which include mining and mineral processing value chain, ICT Broadband, Agriculture and Agro-Processing and renewable energy, and agreed that the provincial government and the US Consul General, will as part of exploring areas for possible trade and investment, engage the affected stakeholders and arrange a visit to the Bojanala Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
“I have had the pleasure of meeting with local and provincial leaders as well as business and labor representatives, and we welcome the depth of the conversations we held during this visit including the desire of the leadership to continue working with us. These direct connections have helped our team better understand the issues and priorities in the province from a variety of perspectives. I look forward to future engagements to continue to build the relationship between the United States and South Africa”, remarked Mr Spera.
Speaking on behalf of Premier, MEC Mosenogi thanked the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg for their continued support and shared interest in contributing towards the province’s economic prosperity and strengthening its health system for the benefit of the people of the North West Province.
Consul General also met with the Executive Mayor of Mahikeng Local Municipality Cllr Tshepiso Mphehlo and his executive, as well as Kgosi Neo Mokgweetsi who represented Kgosi Jeff Montshioa, and discussed areas of possible collaboration with the local municipality, particularly the socio-economic issues. The delegation also embarked on a walk-about to Lonely-Park clinic and the North West University. On Thursday, 03 February 2022, the Consul General and his delegation will visit the USAID and PACT supported Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) in Koster, and will be joined by the MEC for Social Development, Boitumelo Moiloa.