Premier Helen Zille to Undertake Official Visit to the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Austria
Between 23 September and 1 October, Premier Helen Zille will lead a delegation of Western Cape Government officials and business representatives on an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Austria.
The visit will focus on strengthening bilateral relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (including Bavaria) and the Republic of Austria. The Western Cape has enjoyed successful bilateral relations with these regions since 1994. However, despite these relations being of the most productive for the province, scope exists to broaden this relationship into new areas of co-operation.
The trip will focus on the following:
- The Green Economy and renewable energy.
- Enhancing trade relations.
- Attracting new business opportunities to the Western Cape, in order to create employment, specifically in the SMME sectors.
- Disaster management.
- Co-operation between NGOs.
- Interaction with research institutions and think-tanks.
In 2010, total exports from the Western Cape to Germany amounted to R2.95 billion and total imports amounted to R4.4 billion, while FDI from Germany has been destined to only two cities in the Western Cape, namely Cape Town and Saldanha Bay. During the same period, the Western Cape exported goods to Austria to the value of R85.5 million and imported goods from Austria to the value of R507.2 million. Since 2003, Austria has not invested in any FDI projects in the Western Cape, instead investing in other areas of South Africa.
Enormous potential exists in both of these regions when it comes to increasing trade and, more importantly, attracting investment into key economic sectors in the Western Cape, including the Green Economy, business process outsourcing, oil and gas and information and communication technology.
Furthermore, one of the main focuses of Premier Zille's visit is to engage with stakeholders in these regions on the Green Economy and, in particular, renewable energy.
Developing the province's Green Economy provides a major opportunity for our province to achieve energy security, a low-carbon economy and increased job creation.
This is why one of the Western Cape Government's main priorities is developing a fully localised renewable energy in the province that will create sustainable jobs and the equitable distribution of wealth through state incentivised infrastructure improvements.
In 2010, the Western Cape Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism established the Green Cape initiative, a special purpose vehicle that is mandated to implement the provincial government's strategy for the development of the renewable energy sector.
This initiative provides a platform for close co-operation between the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) and institutions for higher learning in the province.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a leading state when it comes to developing renewable energy. The Municipality of Feldheim (in Brandenberg) is the first town in Germany to meet all its energy needs from renewable energy; it functions completely independently from the national energy grid in Germany. The Western Cape delegation will be engaging with key stakeholders in Bavaria and in the German Federal State of Brandenberg on their policies to move away from nuclear energy to renewable energy.
Mr Nils Flaatten, acting CEO of Wesgro, and Mr Francois Du Plessis, CEO of the Green Cape Initiative, will be accompanying Premier Zille and provincial government officials on the visit.
It is envisaged that this visit will strengthen trade relations between the Western Cape and the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria, which is vital to growing our economy and job creation. It will also provide key lessons when it comes to promoting the Western Cape as a renewable energy hub on the African continent.
Spokesperson for Premier Zille
Cell: 072 617 4798
CEO of Wesgro
Cell: 082 409 2020