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.
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.
“WE HELPED TO RAISE SOUTH AFRICA’S GROWTH RATE AND REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT”.
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 technolAir Access is a collaborative project that Wesgro ogy around Atlantis, which GreenCape is putting coordinated between key government organi- together. What this shows is that Cape Town is being sations, including the Western Cape Provincial defined as a leading global energy city. One of the Government, City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism interesting results of the decline in the oil price is and Airports Company South Africa. We’ve added that it’s forced many cities like Cape Town to look over 53 800 new two-way seats on a variety of flights at where the skills that were involved in the oil infrom regions all around the world, and are achieving dustry can be deployed, and we found that many the objective of connecting Cape Town to Africa of those technical skills are quite transferrable into and the world in a very practical way. Establishing new energy like renewables and clean technologies So there’s a synergy between those two , old these flight connections is a great way of driving energy and renewables or new energy. Recently, trade, investment and tourism. The relative performance of the Western Cape the Mayor invited the leading energy cities from continues to be impressive – we helped to raise around the world to Cape Town and when we met South Africa’s growth rate and reduce South Africa’s with them it became clear that Cape Town is really unemployment rate. We’ve had 147 000 people net special in terms of the broad package of energy opmoving into the Cape in the past decade accord- portunities and most importantly skills to activate ing to StatsSA, and almost half of those have come those opportunities. I think when we look back in from Gauteng, so South Africans are voting with a decade you will see Cape Town emerge as a real their feet for the Western Cape economy, bringing energy capital for Africa.
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017