SPECIAL FEATURE forested. In between there are the rugged mountains of the Cederberg, the wheat and barley fields and winelands of the Boland and the Overberg, the fruit-producing valleys of the Klein Karoo and the dry plains of the Great Karoo. The province and the region are most commonly associated with Table Mountain, which watches over the city of Cape Town and forms a national park of its own. The Western Cape has the natural advantage of access to the warm Agulhas current along the south coast and the cold Benguela current up the west coast, offering opportunities for a wide variety of aquaculture and mariculture products to be farmed along the province’s coastline.
exports. Seventy percent of South Africa’s beverage exports came from the Western Cape over the last decade. Grape and wine sales to Europe remain very strong but the Chinese market is becoming increasingly important. Refined petroleum was the single biggest earner for the Western Cape in 2015, with exports valued at R18.2-billion (Wesgro). The province has a diverse manufacturing sector ranging from textiles, clothing, footwear and furniture to coke and refined petroleum products. Excluding agri-processing, other manufacturing makes up 6.9% of GDP. Several significant foreign investments have been received into the Western Cape in recent years: Hisense, GlaxoSmithKline and Kimberley-Clark, among others.
Finance, business services and real estate combined contribute 28% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Western Cape. The financial services and insurance sector in particular has been a key component of the economy for many years, with many of South Africa’s biggest companies having their headquarters in Cape Town. Asset management and venture capital companies have been growing strongly in recent times. Agriculture is another important sector. Although only accounting for 4.3% of GDP on its own, the sector is responsible for the fruit and vegetables that contribute to agri-processing, which accounts for nearly 40% of the province’s export basket. (Agriprocessing accounts for 8.1% of GDP.) Citrus, wine, apples and pears, grapes, fruit juice, fruit and nuts and tobacco all appear in the top 10 of the province’s
The Provincial Government of the Western Cape is putting multiple resources into Project Khulisa, a plan to promote growth in three sectors that will also create new jobs: Oil and Gas, Agri-processing and Tourism. Other sectors that are also expected to grow quickly are: • ICT: Cape Town is already a knowledge hub with banks supporting fintech hubs and several firms making high-tech medical equipment. The City of Cape Town has an ICT strategy and the Silicon Cape Initiative is doing all it can to keep the momentum going in this field. • Film: The skyline near Somerset West has been notable for the rigging of two huge sailing ships
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017