Premier leads WCG delegation on international investment drive
Media release: Premier Winde embarks on international drive to secure international investment and donor funds.
Premier Alan Winde kicked off an international investment drive to the United Kingdom and Europe this week. The Western Cape Government (WCG) is looking beyond our borders for opportunities to strengthen partnerships, drive investment and secure donor funding for crucial safety projects.
To keep growing the province’s economy, the Premier led a WCG delegation - which included Wrenelle Stander, Chief Executive of the Western Cape’s official tourism, investment, and promotion agency Wesgro – to several key trade partners.
The UK is one such important economic partner with WCG: it is the second largest export destination for the province’s goods. Therefore, further solidifying relations across the board is important.
The Premier met with tech venture capitalists in London as part of a push to make Cape Town and the Western Cape a global hub for tech companies and jobs. This sector has significant job creation potential and adds to the province’s already vibrant and innovative economy. The Western Cape’s tech and green value proposition is successfully fueling the province’s competitiveness at a global level. “Renewing our commitment to growing these sectors is just one key objective of this trip,” said the Premier. He added: “Investment is the backbone to innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT space.” Cape Town is Africa’s tech capital, presenting numerous benefits: Wesgro data shows:
- Cape Town attracts world-leading tech giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Construct and is home to local leader, Naspers.
- The city is home to almost 60% of South Africa’s start-ups and is ranked in the Top 100 Emerging Ecosystems in the world by Startup Genome. 53% of all venture capital deals in 2020 were invested into Western Cape-based companies.
- The Western Cape is one of the leading provinces in South Africa in terms of digital infrastructure.
- Cape Town is sophisticated, well-run, and globally focused, home to nearly 500 tech firms employing over 10 000 people
- The city is the 2nd largest financial hub in Africa, driven by the growth of fintech companies. The ‘big four’ accounting firms and top law firms are also based here.
The delegation also met with other major British companies, to sell the many opportunities the Western Cape offers and to attract further investment. The message to these firms was unequivocal: “The Western Cape is open for business after a long two years under Covid-19,” the Premier stated.
Later in the week, the delegation traveled to Belgium for a series of engagements. The west European nation is another important investment partner. In 2021, The rand value of the Western Cape’s exports to Belgium totaled R2.60 billion with the top products being flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, diamonds, and wine.
The Premier inked an agreement with Flanders Minister-President Jan Jamdon to increase economic cooperation and relations, benefitting the region and the Western Cape in the field of trade and education – among others.
The Provincial Government delegation also engaged with counterparts from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union (EU). Since 2004, the bank has helped develop economic activity in South Africa valued at more than EUR2.5 billion, with a particular focus on the private sector and infrastructure investment.
In the Provincial Government’s efforts to make the province energy resilient and offset climate change, the EIB’s activities to drive renewable energy locally are welcomed and should be further explored.
Among the other engagements were:
- Premier Winde met with management from Air Belgium. With the country being a key market in terms of tourism, the WCG aims to further cement relations to boost investment in this sector. The airline recently announced the take-off of seasonal flights from Cape Town from this month, with three per week. Brussels is historically the Mother City’s second largest unserved market and the biggest unserved European market. As the province heads into summer this will be a major boost to tourism, coming at a critical time as the WCG repairs the economy post-Covid-19. Prior to South Africa shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, in 2019 two-way international passenger volumes on the Belgium-Cape Town route exceeded 35 000 passengers.
- The WCG delegation was also hosted by Hydrogen Europe in Belgium to discuss how to make the Western Cape more energy resilient and secure. Green Hydrogen (GH2) was high on the agenda, with the potential to form a potent part of the country’s proposed energy mix to help guide South Africa out of its power production crisis, as well as further enabling the province’s renewable energy push. The province is well-positioned to produce GH2 for local offtake and export. It has the potential to establish South Africa and, specifically through the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone, make the province a future energy market global trader, securing foreign direct investment and creating economic growth and jobs.
- The delegation then interacted with officials from European Trade Promotions Organisation and Business Europe.
- Meetings with Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) and the Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship Agency (VLAIO) were also mutually fruitful, paving the way for the WCG to show Belgium how we cut through bureaucracy and other challenges to help people set up their own businesses.
Throughout this leg of the trip, the Premier emphasised the need to continuously nurture the two-way economic relationship between Belgium and the Western Cape. Further updates will be provided.