Western Cape draws R691m in in­vest­ment

Huge sum at­tracted in only the first quar­ter

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - Ka­belo Khu­malo

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

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