6 years ago

Western Cape Business 2017 edition

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The 2017 edition of Western Cape Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2005, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Western Cape province. The Western Cape has numerous promising investment and business opportunities and this issue includes contributions from Alan Winde (Minister of Economic Opportunities for the Western Cape Government), interviews with Ryan Ravens (CEO of Accelerate Cape Town), Arifa Parkar (Western Cape Business Opportunities Forum CEO), Wesgro CEO Tim Harris and Lance Greyling (Invest Cape Town) as well as contributions from various business leaders. In addition, you will also find comprehensive features on all the key sectors in the Western Cape.

INTERVIEW R2-billion of

INTERVIEW R2-billion of investment into the Western Cape Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, reviews a successful year for business and investment in the Western Cape. Wesgro CEO Tim Harris BIOGRAPHY Tim Harris is Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, the Western Cape’s official Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency. Wesgro is more than 30 years old and remains the oldest organisation of its kind in the country. Prior to that appointment he was the Director of Trade and Investment in the Office of the Executive Mayor at the City of Cape Town and the Shadow Minister of Finance with Democratic Alliance in parliament. He was elected to Parliament aged 29. Harris has a Masters in Economics from UCT. Please could you give an overview of Wesgro’s activities over the year? In a difficult economic climate, Wesgro has performed very strongly over the past year. Our work always begins with economic insight and the Wesgro research team has helped deliver a much deeper understanding of economic opportunities in the Western Cape, publishing 115 research pieces over the past year. For example, there has been huge interest in markets such as Angola, and our report on food and beverage opportunities in Anglo was downloaded more than 1 500 times. So the research team continues to give us the hard numbers we need to make the case for business in the Western Cape. The new Wesgro website ( was launched late in 2016 with a much more interactive approach to data and business intelligence. It will enable business in the Western Cape to be more informed and able to realise opportunities quickly because of the work that our economists are doing. We developed online dashboards for Tourism and for Air Access, both of which are part of the Province’s Project Khulisa initiative. On the trade side, we were helped by the weakening of the rand, and we trained more than 500 companies in export readiness, helping them to build their capacity to export. We also took hundreds of companies to market to help grow their global sales. For the first time this year we really engaged with the new mandate that the Minister gave us to help drive outward investments into the rest of Africa, so we are now also helping Western Cape companies to establish operations in Africa. On the investment side, we surpassed the R2-billion mark in terms of investment landed in the Western Cape. Our biggest investment was a R1.189-billion renewable energy project from Spanish-based Acciona in the rural area of Gouda, which we worked on with GreenCape. Overall, the investment we facilitated created 681 jobs, and the agri-team in particular landed three deals including an abalone-farming facility in Doringbaai and the world’s first commercial fly farm in Philippi, so there was a strong performance WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017 20

INTERVIEW from the investment team despite obvious challenges in the global and local economy. On the destination marketing side, the Convention Bureau helped bring almost 28 000 new delegates to the Western Cape in the past year, with the economic impact of R374-million from the bids they landed for events in Cape Town. On the Leisure Marketing side, we supported 48 events around the province, helping to give people reasons to travel out of Cape Town into the outlying regions, particularly during the winter season. The film team continues to position the Western Cape as one of the top film destinations in the developing world. They assisted 188 film and media companies and conducted four events focused on opportunities in the film sector. “WE HELPED TO RAISE SOUTH AFRICA’S GROWTH RATE AND REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT”. Air Access is a collaborative project that Wesgro coordinated between key government organisations, including the Western Cape Provincial Government, City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism and Airports Company South Africa. We’ve added over 53 800 new two-way seats on a variety of flights from regions all around the world, and are achieving the objective of connecting Cape Town to Africa and the world in a very practical way. Establishing these flight connections is a great way of driving trade, investment and tourism. The relative performance of the Western Cape continues to be impressive – we helped to raise South Africa’s growth rate and reduce South Africa’s unemployment rate. We’ve had 147 000 people net moving into the Cape in the past decade according to StatsSA, and almost half of those have come from Gauteng, so South Africans are voting with their feet for the Western Cape economy, bringing skills, capital and experience. Entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and from all race groups are seeing opportunities to grow in the Western Cape. What is the expected effect of Brexit on business in the region? Brexit is a risk but also an opportunity. The UK is an important trading partner for us and they are also one of the largest investors in the Western Cape over the past decade (measured by number of projects). The uncertainty around the trading arrangements with Britain is not a good thing, as uncertainty is a disincentive for business. We’ve had several engagements with the Consulate General and also our largest agri-exporters who are very exposed to the British market, to give them a view of what the roadmap is for Brexit but also to focus on the opportunity it might present. Right now our trade with Britain is governed by EU trading arrangements, and there exists the distinct possibility that we may be able to negotiate more favourable terms when and if Britain exits from the EU arrangement. What impact will the Special Economic Zones have? The plan is to have two zones, with oil and gas services at the Saldanha Bay IDZ, and clean technology around Atlantis, which GreenCape is putting together. What this shows is that Cape Town is being defined as a leading global energy city. One of the interesting results of the decline in the oil price is that it’s forced many cities like Cape Town to look at where the skills that were involved in the oil industry can be deployed, and we found that many of those technical skills are quite transferrable into new energy like renewables and clean technologies So there’s a synergy between those two , old energy and renewables or new energy. Recently, the Mayor invited the leading energy cities from around the world to Cape Town and when we met with them it became clear that Cape Town is really special in terms of the broad package of energy opportunities and most importantly skills to activate those opportunities. I think when we look back in a decade you will see Cape Town emerge as a real energy capital for Africa. 21 WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017

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