Birmingham and Johannesburg enhance their engagement, July 2015

Birmingham & JohannesburgBoth Birmingham and Johannesburg are pleased to announce the enhancement of their collaborative engagement. From the inception of Johannesburg`s first ever formal international relationship, with Birmingham the 2 cities have enjoyed a wide-ranging and productive Sister City relationship.

That engagement has recently been extended to include new initiatives that address the interests and challenges affecting the 2 dynamic cities. Aspects of best practice are being shared around city management, governance, youth engagement, urban innovation and bi-lateral trade. Other issues including  migration and social cohesion are bringing the cities together to resolve common challenges. Young people are obviously crucial to the future life of cities. This is recognised with both Birmingham and Johannesburg learning from each other how best to address youth engagement, provide apprenticeships and reduce unemployment. At a cultural level, the city Youth Orchestras are currently in the discussion on an exchange of musicians and joint performances.

Both cities are also keen to involve citizens in determining the structure and appropriate provision of future Councils. As a means of understanding the Birmingham approach a delegation of senior staff from Johannesburg visited the city in July to discuss with counterparts on how to obtain the views of citizens generally and disadvantaged citizens in particular.