Economic Development Agency on Track to Deliver Economic Leadership and Strategy in the Western Cape
Media Statement by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
Today (Tuesday, 2 August 2011), Andrew Boraine of the Cape Town Partnership presented the final proposal for the Economic Development Agency (EDA) to a joint meeting of the Western Cape Cabinet and City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee.
We are confident that the suggested strategy and structure for the EDA, which was developed following extensive research into EDAs around the world and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, will deliver the new brand of economic leadership required to constitute a shared economic growth, development and inclusion vision and strategy for the Western Cape.
To date, the absence of a common economic agenda and strategy, and a disjointed regional economic delivery system, has resulted in the following:
- As a region, we are not achieving our full growth potential, particularly in relation to our assets and opportunities.
- Jobless growth: We are not reducing poverty and inequality sufficiently or quickly enough - breaking the cycle of poverty means expanding incomes and jobs, not just the provision of more services to more people.
- Many barriers remain to making us a more competitive region - while the post-recession global economy has become even more competitive.
- We have a relatively weak regional business brand, partially because of a traditional focus on leisure tourism and "quality of life" assets (where Cape Town and the region are sometimes associated as an antidote to business and development), and partially because of the gaps in our business and investment climate and economic delivery system.
To address these failures and create sustainable growth and jobs, it is clear that we need to bring all major economic role players in the province together on the basis of a common agenda.
The proposed EDA will be the body responsible for driving this project. It is proposed that it will have the following roles and functions:
- Market and economic intelligence.
- Leadership and agenda-setting.
- Formation of an economic strategy.
- Monitoring and assessment.
In mid-August, the EDA proposal will be formally tabled before the Provincial Cabinet and City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee.
Should it be approved, the implementation of the EDA will commence immediately with the announcement of an interim steering committee, whose task will be to bring key players together to forge a shared vision, common economic agenda and new economic strategy for the province. It is envisaged that the EDA will begin operating officially at the start of the next provincial financial year on 1 April 2012.
As the political heads for economic growth and job creation, Councillor Belinda Walker and I are encouraged that we have reached this point in the process. The proposed EDA will be the vehicle that will deliver the visionary leadership we need to grow the economy and jobs and ensure that all the citizens of the Western Cape have access to and are included in the economy.