Economic Development Agency Gets Cabinet Approval
Media Statement by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
Today, the Provincial Cabinet gave in-principle approval for the formation of a Western Cape Economic Development Agency (EDA).
The EDA is now firmly on track to open its doors on 1 April 2012. Its primary function will be to ensure coordination and partnership between all role players in the economy based on a clear agenda to promote growth, development and inclusion.
Its priority tasks will be to:
- Build a shared economic vision, strategy and brand for the Province.
- Shift away from a "culture of disaggregation" to a collaborative approach on the economy which incorporates business, communities and all spheres of government.
- Undertake economic and market intelligence, so that economic development strategies become evidence-based.
- Coordinate the economic efforts of the Western Cape Government and local governments of the Province, including its major metropole, the City of Cape Town.
- Devise a single strategy towards contested activities and markets, eg visitors, firms, events and festivals, students, investors, institutions, innovators and entrepreneurs, research, etc. Over time, the above actions will result in an improved business and investment climate; a more competitive, resilient and productive economy; a coherent regional business brand; greater support for all types of businesses big and small, and ultimately, higher levels of growth and employment.
The EDA is likely to be established as a not-for-profit company. This is to ensure that it is not hamstrung by tedious, and often overly bureaucratic, government processes. It will be a small, well-resourced leadership and coordinating body, owned jointly by the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, business organisations and other economic stakeholders.
The formation of this new body presents an open invitation for all economic role players, within government and outside, to come together on the basis of a common agenda to address the most pressing needs that we are faced with: poverty and joblessness.
To date, the lack of a coordinated vision, strategy and agenda for the economy has resulted in:
- Jobless growth caused largely by the prioritisation of welfare services over the creation of jobs.
- Poor utilisation of our assets and opportunities, resulting in us not achieving our full growth potential.
- A weak regional business brand, in part due to the focus placed on leisure tourism and "quality of life" assets, and in part because of shortcomings in our business and investment climate.
- Disaggregated and uncoordinated economic strategies that have impaired our ability to compete against other regions.
- Competition amongst ourselves and duplication of efforts.
When we came to government two years ago, it was immediately clear that to address poverty, we required a bold new plan for the Western Cape economy that would tackle the above challenges head on.
The Western Cape Economic Development Agency will do just that.
Through the formation of a single strategy and brand for the region's economy, and in partnership with business and local governments of the Province, we will create a better life for all the residents of the Western Cape.