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Cape Town is the perfect location for local and international businesses to set up shop. The city is a hub of opportunities for those wanting to do business in the country or on the African continent.

Cape Town boasts a thriving economy conducive to doing business. It is the third largest contributor to South Africa’s GDP after Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), accounting for 9,9% of output as of 2019, according to the city’s Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy. From 2014 – 2019, Cape Town’s GDP growth rate averaged 1,22% – higher than both the Western Cape’s 1,17% and 1,0% at national level.

The economic growth in Cape Town is evident from the rise in new company registrations, several large new investment projects, a steadily growing digitech sector, and increased exports. Meanwhile, good governance provides a stable business environment.

There are several sectors of opportunity in Cape Town including the agriculture value chain; health tech; energy; economic water resilience; Western Cape Halal exports; oil, gas and marine services; tourism; construction; and the digital and waste economies.

Strategies support business creation and growth

The City of Cape Town has implemented several strategies to attract and support business in the city. Its dedicated Enterprise and Investment Department attracts investment and supports commercial activity.

Within this department is The Business Hub, which was specifically set up to help entrepreneurs and new businesses to thrive. Businesses can use this one-stop service to easily access information regarding city processes, work with the city’s departments to resolve any city-related issues, and connect them to specialised business support agencies according to their specific needs.

In 2020 alone, The Business Hub received 2850 service requests. It resolved 98% of them within two working days.

The city also recognises the importance of small businesses, and it works to support them by ensuring the effective and efficient provision of quality basic services.

Infrastructure and mobility provide conducive business environment

Cape Town offers excellent infrastructure and technology, necessary for investment activities and for businesses to function optimally. Roads, electricity, and digital connectivity networks are continually maintained and expanded by the city. Energy provision is being diversified to ensure that businesses have access to reliable power.

Public transport and road congestion programmes actively work to improve mobility in and around the city. Meanwhile, more than 750,000 inbound seats have been added to Cape Town International Airport’s schedule. This makes it even easier for global businesses to travel to and from the city when necessary. The increase in flights is driving expansion of the airport as well as the surrounding business precinct.

Cape Town scores top marks for ease of doing business

Cape Town has been ranked the top metropolitan municipality in South Africa when it comes to the ease of doing business, according to the 2018 World Bank report Doing Business in South Africa. The city owes this to the speed at which it gets electricity to new businesses, its rapid provision of construction permits, and having the most efficient rates in South Africa at registering properties.

Despite this, the city is committed to improve the ease of doing business even further. It aims to provide a business-friendly regulatory environment and services that are customer-centric. It’s working to reduce licensing, transactions and other red tape measures to help improve business creation and growth.

As part of this strategy, the City of Cape Town will provide enhanced, customised advice and support for businesses operating in or wishing to establish themselves in Cape Town. As a result, they will be able to access municipal services more easily through simplified processes and integrated systems.  

To ensure the competitiveness of local businesses, the city’s business retention and expansion (BRE) programme aims to retain existing employment opportunities and productivity and create new jobs. Working with businesses, it identifies barriers to growth and how to mitigate or remove them.

Green economy thriving in Cape Town

The City of Cape Town’s green economy is flourishing, with growing renewable energy, waste, water, energy efficiency and sustainable agriculture sectors – all of which offer multiple investment opportunities.

The Atlantis Greentech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is fast becoming a manufacturing hub of various Greentech products such as wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels, electric vehicles, materials recycling and green building materials. It is estimated to be worth around R110.5 billion by 2035.

The city continues to invest in the green economy offering opportunities and investors from all around the world through this Greentech hub.

Impressive pool of skilled and newly qualified professionals

Cape Town attracts a diverse pool of skilled professionals. On top of this, the Western Cape is home to several world-class universities which ensures that there is a highly skilled workforce from which businesses can draw. This young and energetic talent contributes significantly towards the innovation and creativity for which the city is known.

Information and resources for businesses and investors

There are several investment companies and agencies in Cape Town that provide information and resources for businesses and individuals that want to establish themselves in the city.

Wesgro is an investment promotion agency that introduces investors to local suppliers; provides useful statistics, data and business information; and offers practical support. It assists investors and businesses looking to branch out to the Western Cape province.

The Invest Cape Town initiative was launched by the City of Cape Town to enable growth in the city. It links businesses to new insights, opportunities, and solutions. Invest Cape Town collaborates with business formations, investment promotion agencies, sector support entities, and all spheres of government. 

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