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STATEMENT BY THE MAYCO MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS

In my Council address a few weeks ago at the announcement of Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s adjusted budget, I said that the recovery from Covid-19 must lead to a different economy.  Everything we do must be geared towards a strong focus on building a more equal, inclusive and sustainable economy. Read more below:

That’s exactly why the City funds programming with partners who are given a specific mandate to grow investments, business development, and job and training opportunities.

We work closely with these partners and every week I have the pleasure of visiting businesses, educational workshops and communities where the fruits of these partnerships are evident. I meet previously unemployed people who have been trained under our programmes and are now earning an income. Businesses who were struggling to stay open learn how to strategise and eventually flourish.

Our partnership with Wesgro is an example of this success. As the investment promotion agency for the province and Cape Town, Wesgro’s mandate is to increase awareness of the city’s economic prospects.

Despite the challenges over the last year, the agency has facilitated more than R5 billion in committed investments and more than 4 800 jobs in the metro. It has also signed 59 trade agreements with an estimated export value of R3,7 billion.

It gives me great pride that the City and Wesgro will be continuing this partnership with its continued strong commitment to projects that will help to grow our economy and bring about jobs.

Following consultations with industry roleplayers and business groups across Cape Town, I gave careful consideration to what kind of programmes Wesgro will need to undertake. These projects will give Cape Town a competitive advantage, and create local, African and global connections that will allow trade to flourish:

  • This includes the Air Access and Cruise Cape Town initiatives, which has connected the Mother City with other global destinations, bringing more air and sea travellers to our shores. Not only has this brought more tourists to Cape Town, it has also boosted our link to key source markets, allowing for more global exports of Mother City-made goods. More exports means increased production, which means more jobs and a stronger economy.
  • Related to this, they will also facilitate an Export Advancement programme this year that will include training Capetonian companies in selling their services and products abroad. Wesgro will also have a dedicated unit focused on unlocking service export opportunities, including research and strategy development and Outward Foreign Direct Investment missions and promotional and networking events.
  • The agency is also building an online platform, The Cape Trade Portal, that will serve as a marketplace export resource centre, and virtual trade platform. The aim will be to connect Cape Town-based exporters with international buyers 24/7 and support local exporters with training and research.

There is no time to waste. We have already begun the work of getting these initiatives off the ground. Together with our partners, the City is moving towards its goal of creating a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

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