INTERVIEW we also have a mature ecosystem here that can support tech companies. In BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), we’re the leader in South Africa and in Africa. There are a number of global companies such as Amazon running back-office and call-centre operations out of Cape Town. This is another sector where we want to attract more investors and where we have an attractive offering. In terms of the renewable energy and clean-tech industries, we’re also a leader. We should shortly receive national designation for a Special Economic Zone in Atlantis for the clean-tech sector, and we already account for about 60% of the manufacturing of the renewable energy component for the national programme.
“WE AIM TO POSITION CAPE TOWN IN THE MINDS OF BOTH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS AS A GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE BUSINESS DESTINATION.”
Cape Town is also the retail capital of South Africa, with many of the retail giants headquartered here, Shoprite being an example. This is a good base for companies that are looking to penetrate the African market, given our port infrastructure, and we also have the financial and legal companies to underpin and advance an African strategy. Are there any incentives that you offer to investors?
We’re limited at local government level in terms of incentives we can offer, but we did pilot an incentive scheme in Atlantis that worked phenomenally well – the one financial incentive we were able to offer was a discount on electricity, and companies have taken that up, but actually the bigger incentive that we offer is in the efficient allocation of land. For example, a company looking to build a factory here was able to make an investment decision and within nine months buy the land from us, get all the approvals, get the building plans done, construct the factory and then open up their operation in a record time. That’s where the real incentive lies, a non-financial incentive – in our ability to fast-track administrative processes. And of course a Special Economic Zone for the clean-tech sector would offer a national incentive in terms of a lower tax rate, which is a big drawcard. How are you taking the message about Cape Town to the world?
We’re also seeing investment into advanced manufacturing such as electronics. An example is Hisense, which is expanding its operations in Atlantis, and there’s an aerospace cluster in Somerset West where there are a number of companies that are producing satellites for the global market. So we are doing well in the knowledge economy, which is supported by the fact that we have four higher education institutions here. This is a key point for companies looking to invest as they know that we have the requisite skills base. Cape Town is also a place where people want to come and live, so companies know they’re not going to struggle to get people to come and work for them if they base themselves here.
First, we’re having three months of structured engagements with key stakeholders and partners to see what they require to get the message out about Cape Town. Although we have initiated this campaign, we don’t see ourselves as owning it – we want people to be economic ambassadors for Cape Town, to engage with us as to the kind of materials that would be useful to them when they go out on a global mission. We will then craft the collateral for them to use. So it’s not just about us pushing out a message of the City of Cape Town, but about us empowering economic ambassadors for Cape Town and giving them the materials to enable them to sell a good story about Cape Town globally.
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017