Media release: Provincial Cabinet approves the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between Western Cape Government and the State of California on agriculture
On Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Acting United States Consul General, Will Stevens, together with his broader team where we discussed key projects, provincial priorities, and potential collaboration opportunities.
During our engagement, we also discussed the Provincial Cabinet’s recent approval of the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), as presented by the Provincial Department of Agriculture, to re-ignite the Provincial Government’s relationship with California in the agricultural sector.
Similar agreements have been established with the State of Georgia, as well as past relationships with the States of California and Florida. The Western Cape and the State of Georgia are both members of the Regional Leaders’ Forum, a multilateral grouping of 7 regions from both developed and developing countries.
Speaking to the nature of the agreement, the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said: "During the discussions, both parties highlighted that the Western Cape Province and the State of California are two of the few regions in the world sharing a similar Mediterranean Climate. The result is that the two regions do share not only similar crops and production systems but also iconic products such as wine and wine tourism."
"However, the implication is that both regions are also prone to similar disasters such as droughts, floods and fires. It follows that exciting synergies can be developed to mitigate the impact of Climate Change. Therefore, the parties took the decision to develop a formal Memorandum of Agreement on Agriculture as soon as possible," continued Minister Meyer.
Some of the items on the agenda during today’s meeting included trade and investment opportunities with key linkages to provincial competitive advantages including agriculture, tech, the green economy, tourism, healthcare and bi-lateral relations between the Western Cape and sub-national entities within the United States of America.
The Western Cape Government has always enjoyed a strong working relationship with the U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town, and we are currently exploring ways in which we could engage more.
In 2021, the Western Cape Province and U.S. government successfully launched a new Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership through the Minister of Finance of Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, signed a formal government-to-government (G2G) relationship with the Department of Health that will expand USAID support to the province, and launched a direct flight between New York and Cape Town in 2019.
Acting U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens, noted: “as the Western Cape’s top foreign direct investor, the United States is a key partner for the province in bolstering economic growth. Building on the successes of our Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership and our Government-to-Government Partnership in Health, this new MOU with the State of California will further expand the strong ties between the U.S. and South African agricultural sectors, increasing our already robust trade and investment.”
I am pleased that we are continuously strengthening our relationships with our U.S. counterparts primarily through the U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town. I look forward to seeing these relationships grow from strength to strength, to the benefit of those we serve.