At our Thought Leaders Engagement, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth and Development Alderman James Vos shared with our assembled members his team’s strategic intent and commitment, together with an overview of their initiatives and programmes as they strive to build an economy of hope and confidence.
Significant successes include:
- Tourism: A bumper tourism season in December 2022 that showed two-way passenger recovery at 96% vs. 2019.
- Air Access: The inclusion of four new routes and three new airlines in 2022 that showed no less than R430m in direct tourism spend between November 2022 – March 2023. Currently, Cape Town International Airport hosts no fewer than 21 airlines that cover 27 destinations and 199 flights per week. Additional plans include negotiations with both India and China as well as South America to include more direct flights from important destinations.
- Investments: Facilitation of R3bn in new investments, with the tech and green economy pipelines continuing to show strong growth.
- Cruise Cape Town: No fewer than 75 ships are confirmed from November 2022 – May 2023 which will see approximately 500,000 passengers disembark during this timeframe.
- Conventions: A total of 29 conference bids have been secured for FY 22/23 to FY 24/25, bringing with it in excess of 20,000 delegates and a direct economic impact of R393m.
- Exports: 5bn export declarations reached. In addition, the Made in the Cape campaign reached 10m unique users via a UK campaign. An exciting digital marketplace that sees Cape Town products listed and shared with the world via this trade portal.
Alderman Vos also shared the City’s bold commitment of R120bn investment in infrastructure spend over the next ten years. This, to ensure that Cape Town’s infrastructure is not only able to support its current citizens but to build capacity to support the expected semigration to the Western Cape. Cape Town also remains committed to ending loadshedding and achieving energy-smart status. As critical, is maintaining good financial governance to build investor confidence and to gain the trust of its citizens in how money is spent.
Lance Greyling, Director, Invest Cape Town – a City of Cape Town initiative to attract and retain foreign direct investment that is of strategic importance to the economic development of Cape Town, was also in attendance. Invest Cape Town’s economic growth outlook is focused on improving Cape Town’s business climate and boosting its global profile as an attractive investment destination with positive economic growth.
In support of the Mayoral pledge of having Cape Town achieve the status of ‘easiest place to do business, Invest Cape Town’s priorities include:
- An Economic Action Plan with a strong focus on business retention and expansion, productivity, and innovation. This has seen Alderman Vos and his team working with countless businesses across Cape Town on productivity and business modelling, et.al., which has saved 1,800 jobs across approximately 800 businesses.
- An Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy with emphasis on the built environment, infrastructure, basic services, and labour. It includes 189 action steps – all of which are built into the key performance areas of all directors and heads of department.
- A Six Pillar Narrative to entrench a philosophy of ‘Visit, Live, Work, Study, Play, Invest’, with a successful two-week campaign across five USA cities in support of this narrative.
- The I Mean Business initiative, forming part of the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) programme. All 30,000 City employees will receive this training to ensure everyone is skilled on how to be more business-friendly, with a focus on execution and results.
- Implementation of the EoDB Index (a thorough self-assessment of its business-focused conduct). In conjunction with business, it consists of ten indicators – all of which are linked to turnaround times across several areas. These include business plan submissions, electricity connection, informal trading permits and business licensing, et. al.
- The launch of an online dashboard to allow businesses, investors, and other interested parties to view and track progress.
- Additional platforms and programmes that speak to the EoDB mindset.
A strong focus on SMMEs and job creation has also seen the successful rollout of The Business Hub and Jobs Connect. The former – a free online platform where entrepreneurs can access online courses as well as any mentoring and coaching required. The latter – a platform that connects existing job opportunities with job-seeking candidates in addition to offering skills bridging courses as part of the City’s objective to help Capetonians become job ready.
Alderman Vos stressed that City is not able to achieve these successes or realise its future goals without close collaboration. He shared several examples of these collaborative partnerships including Silicon Cape and the City-funded technical skills training programme, Cape Town Tourism and its collaborative efforts on the 6 Pillars programme as well as its work with EDP (Western Cape Economic Development Programme) on township economy strategies. He also stressed his team’s commitment to continue pushing for reforms across any areas that may fall outside of their mandate – the upgrade of Cape Town International Airport and remote working visas to name but two.
Cape Town continues to be a beacon of hope. Public and private partnerships are key to the furthering of our local development agenda and the building of our local economy, to keeping hope alive and the beacon shining. We cannot stress this often enough. Accelerate Cape Town remains committed to continuing to facilitate and support engagement and collaboration between local government representatives and Cape Town business.