The city of Nantes (France) and the eThekwini municipality is signing a significant sister city co-operation agreement today.

The idea for a sister city cooperation agreement was initiated by Mayor Obed Mlaba when he met Nantes deputy Mayor Mr Y Chotard at the World Sustainability and Development (WSSD) Conference held in Johannesburg in 2002. Both leaders felt the need to have a cooperation agreement to take forward some of the key resolutions adopted at the WSSD.

A number of exchange visits have already taken place between Durban and Nantes. The visits have started to lay the foundations for strong co-operation in the areas of tourism, arts and culture, environment and economic and investment promotion.

The exchange programme has already seen Durban celebrate and promote its horticultural wonders in the city of Nante. Numerous musicians and artists have traveled to Nantes to promote Durban’s arts and cultural assets and to promote Durban’s tourism products.

Another crucial result of the cooperation agreement will see France and South Africa cooperate in the development and construction of the African Peace Centre on the Bluff Headland. The centre will see Durban and Nantes play a crucial role in creating a platform for peace making and conflict resolution for SADEC and Franco-phone countries.