Western Cape draws R691m in investment
Huge sum attracted in only the first quarter
THE Western Cape’s trade and investment vehicle Wesgro this week said it had secured R691 million in investment for the province during the first quarter of this year and is looking offshore to source more foreign direct investment.
The organisation’s investment promotion unit undertook three international investment promotion missions and bagged four major investments.
The investment agency said these investments would contribute R591m to the Cape’s economy, and create 370 jobs, while the balance of R100m was secured by the agency’s agriculture investment unit and was expected to create 450 jobs in the agri-processing sector which has been identified as a key priority sector within the Western Cape’s Project Khulisa strategy.
Tim Harris, chief executive of Wesgro, said these investment figures suggested that efforts to offset the effects of the recent string of credit ratings downgrades were paying off.
“We have a series of initiatives on the way to maintain this momentum, including an engagement with mayor (Patricia) De Lille and minister (Alan) Winde on the Cape’s post-downgrade plan of action, and in the second half of this year we will launch the Cape Investor Centre in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Invest SA initiative,” Harris said.
According to a KPMG report released earlier this year, there is a huge deficit in agro-processing on the continent.
The report found Africa produced and exported $6 billion worth of coffee, the coffee was then turned into products outside of the borders of the continent and sold for a total of $100bn, meaning $94bn of the value was captured outside the continent. The Western Cape’s agro-processing industry is estimated to be worth in the region of R12bn.
Alan Winde, Western Cape minister of economic opportunities, said the investment measures the province had put in place were making its economy withstand the sluggish national economy.
“The provincial economy has become even stronger, despite the drought, economic and political shocks.
“We’ve seen investment sustained and good performance in Project Khulisa’s focus sectors, specifically in tourism and agri-processing,” said Winde.
Meanwhile, a team led by Premier Helen Zille and provincial business people spent this week in the UK wooing investment in that country. This was the second trip organised by Wesgro to the UK in two months; in May a team led by Winde visited the country with the intention on securing the province’s exports post-Brexit, and providing certainty to UK investors.
The UK has traditionally been the biggest foreign investor in the Western Cape economy. According to Wesgro between 2003 and 2016 a total of 82 projects were recorded from the UK to the Western Cape, representing a total capital investment of R16.8bn, mainly in business services, financial services, and industrial machinery and equipment.
In addition, the agency said the UK was the Western Cape’s second-largest export destination and eighth largest import market in 2016. Grape wines were the leading export product category to the UK from the Western Cape in 2016, valued at $108m. This top export was followed by grapes at $106m and citrus fruit $89m.
Patricia de Lille, the executive mayor of the City of Cape Town, said the City was continuing to create a viable business environment for investors. The UK is also the largest source market for tourists.
“We invest billions of rand in infrastructure development each year, and continue to work even harder to proactively engage investors on the wealth of opportunities available to them in Cape Town. These results prove we have a lot to offer the world and show that Cape Town is open for business,” De Lille said.
These results prove we have a lot to offer the world and show that Cape Town is open for business