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CEO Update

With much ground to make up following two years of pandemic disruptions, the first quarter of 2022 has undoubtedly been one of the busiest periods in recent memory for most of us! At Accelerate Cape Town, we have leveraged the positive momentum of the ACT rebuild at the end of 2021 to drive an incredibly productive first quarter.

The ‘VaxiTaxi project, a collaboration with Old Mutual and the Department of Health, was a great initiative that ensured access to vaccines for some of our most marginalised communities between December and March. Four mobile vaccination units (comprised of 7 vehicles) were deployed to vaccinate thousands of people who would otherwise not have had easy access to vaccines.

Beyond access to vaccines, low levels of vaccine education and awareness have led to persistent vaccine hesitancy and ‘anti-vaxxer’ sentiment. In support of the call for localised messaging from the national Vaccine Demand Acceleration Task Team, ACT and Santam partnered on a unique messaging campaign – engaging the Arts to drive demand for vaccinations by positioning street artists as community-based ambassadors for vaccination. The ‘Your Best Shot’ street art campaign, launched during the 6th edition of the International Public Art Festival (IPAF), has been a phenomenal success and has resulted in one of the largest murals ever produced in the Cape Town CBD, along with a number of installations in communities with low vaccine uptake.

In addition to these projects – which represent an exciting new collaborative direction for ACT, we are immensely pleased to have returned to in-person networking engagements. Launched in Q3 2021, our revised Council structure has hit its stride and we have enjoyed some great networking sessions, including some incredibly insightful strategy sessions to redefine and repurpose Accelerate Cape Town.

We’ve also brought back our CEO Engagements and have hosted Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis along with Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews and the City’s economic development team to gain deeper insight into their vision for Cape Town. We ended the quarter with another CEO Engagement – on this occasion discussing the national infrastructure agenda with Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Ms. Patricia de Lille, as well as Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Head of Infrastructure South Africa (ISA).

Being the ‘voice of corporate Cape Town’ remains a key value proposition for ACT and we have delivered an incredibly successful PR campaign during Q1 2022. Reducing inequality and transforming our society remains core to ACT’s purpose and we believe it has become critical for business’ views to be aired in this regard. Whilst B-BBEE policy has had limited success in achieving a reduction in inequality – South Africa was ranked as the most unequal country in the world in a recent World Bank report – a revised approach is perhaps long overdue. Inclusive justice is an approach that acknowledges the interwovenness of various injustices – not only the narrow lens of racism, but also classism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and the many other forms of injustice plaguing our society. Reducing inequality is essential to sustainable business and it will become increasingly important for organised business to chart a way forward in that regard.

Another key focus area for ACT this year will be Leadership Development, as we’re all learning to lead in an increasingly chaotic and uncertain operating environment. We aim to create the space and opportunities to learn from each other and in this edition’s Leadership Spotlight, we share some great insights with Júlio César Do Monte, Managing Director South & Sub-Saharan Africa at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter and I look forward to building on the great start to 2022 we’ve enjoyed together!