With economic growth and job creation being key to South Africa’s progress, the Western Cape (WC) Government has embarked on a programme to identify the economic sectors that will provide the greatest growth and job creation over the next five years. Called Project Khulisa which means “to grow” in isiXhosa, this project is one of the ‘game changers’ identified for roll out to 2019.

Project Khulisa is led by a steering committee comprising the WC Government’s Ministers of Finance, Economic Opportunities, Transport & Public Works, and Environmental Affairs & Planning, together with the Deputy Mayor and Mayco members for Economic Development at the City of Cape Town. They are working closely with their leadership teams and bringing together the experience and expertise of business, academia and civil society formations. Chris Whelan, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town was engaged in the initial process for his input into the WC economic drivers.

The outcome of the research is to prioritise high-potential economic sectors, and the project used two lenses of attractiveness (current contribution to GVA, jobs and growth rate) and feasibility. Additional criteria included: the share of medium- and low-skilled jobs in the sector (given the importance of creating entry-level job opportunities), and the sector’s share of growth outside the Metro (given the importance of supporting growth and job-creation across the province).

While it is important that the entire economy is supported, Project Khulisa singles out the sectors that have the greatest potential to provide major opportunities for the next three to five years which include:

  • Tourism –  this sector currently contributes R17 billion in GVA and accounts for 204,000 formal jobs. The WC Governments projection of a high growth scenario estimates that the sector’s GVA contribution could increase by 65%, to R28 billion in 2019, and it could add a further 120,000 formal jobs over the same period.
  • Agri-processing – this sector currently contributes R12 billion in GVA and accounts for 79,000 formal jobs. Under a high growth scenario, the sector’s GVA contribution is estimated to increase by 126%, to R26 billion in 2019, and it could add a further 100,000 formal jobs over the same period.
  • Oil & gas – this sector offers major growth potential, even outside of exploration. In midstream services alone, the sector today directly accounts for 35,000 formal jobs; under a high growth scenario, it could add a further 60,000 formal jobs by 2019.

Next Steps

Following the initial research and the selection of three focus sectors, the WC Government will be hosting a series of engagements with industry and other spheres of government to ensure consensus and a joined up approach to implementing practical projects to drive growth in these sectors.  Accelerate Cape Town will be engaged in the process and we would like to encourage business to participate for greater contribution so that we can communicate to the WC Government what business needs and views as strategic priorities.

As Project Khulisa is a Western Cape Government initiative, please contact Tammy.Evans@westerncape.gov.za if you’d like more information.