Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – today set out its plan to boost the Cape economy in the 2018/19 financial year.
The event, attended by businesses, consulates and senior representatives of all levels of government, also provided an overview of trends, risks and opportunities that exist in the world, as set out in our latest publication: “Global Economic Opportunities for the Cape, 2018/19“.
The Agency was particularly pleased to welcome the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, and Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, as speakers at our event.
As part of the Wesgro presentation, our Senior Economist, Janine Botha identified a number of key trends in the global economy. These included:
- 2017 was an excellent year for the global economy, representing the greatest synchronised upsurge since 2010;
- Consolidation seen in global output in 2017 is expected to continue in 2018 and into 2019, with 2018 being the first year since the global financial crisis that global economy will be operating at full or near capacity;
- US, Europe & Asia’s economic growth running above potential, resulting in global growth close on 4% in 2018;
- Emerging & developing Asia will lead (growth) charge at a forecasted 6,5% & 6,6% in 2018f and 2019f;
- Aggregated growth for the Latin American region is projected at 1.9% in 2018 & 2.6% in 2019, from an estimated 1.3% in 2017;
- Six of the ten fastest growing economies globally will be in Africa in 2018 according to the World Bank;
- The three fastest growing economies projected for 2018 are Ghana, Ethiopia and India;
- The US expects steady growth this year, but latest protectionism push poses major risk to global economy;
- The Eurozone has bright prospects for 2018. Uncertainty around Brexit will impact on UK economy;
- The global Islamic economy provides major opportunities for growth. The global Muslim population is projected to increase by 70% to 3 billion by 2060.
With these insights in mind, the Wesgro team led by our CEO, Tim Harris, set out how it plans to maximise opportunities for the Cape in line with its key mandates of tourism, trade, investment and film promotion.
The Trade Unit stated their two-fold approach: to promote global exports of goods and services from local companies, and to support the operations and expansion of Cape companies into Africa. The unit will look to implement their Halal Export Strategy (HEP), conduct an in-depth review of the Canadian markets, ensure greater engagement with the BRICS consortium (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and the implementation of a focussed Outward Foreign Direct Investment Strategy.
Destination Marketing (Tourism):
The Destination Marketing team at Wesgro identified three opportunities for the new financial year. These included promoting incentive travel, through the Convention Bureau, which is a key driver in the Asian market; adopting an holistic approach to emerging markets, by working closely with other key departments of Wesgro on joint programmes such as Angola Wine Project; and promoting niche tourism experiences. These experiences include cycling, culture and heritage – with the Madiba Centenary Celebrations providing great international excitement – and food and wine tourism. Wesgro will also be continuing to send out the message that Cape Town and the Western Cape are open for business, and that tourists are welcome, but should be mindful of the drought and help save water.
Film and Media Promotion:
Our Film and Media team will continue with their key objective of building a truly competitive film sector by 2020. In doing so, they will focus on markets where bi-lateral production treaties currently exist, the USA, BRICS partners and the rest of Africa. New initiatives include the expansion of the Western Cape’s E-asset register to all five regions; the development of a strategy research paper following recommendations of the City of Cape Town/Wesgro Film study findings; and the hosting of ad hoc training opportunities with focus on African Film Commissions Network “film friendly regions”, film finance, upskilling and understanding the film legal environment.
Working across sectors, the Investment Promotion (IP) Unit will continue to position Wesgro as the “first port of call” for potential investors, while providing essential knowledge, access and expertise. In alignment with new research undertaken and key markets identified, 14 missions are scheduled for the 2018/19 financial year. The Agribusiness Investment Unit will conduct a total of 6 missions. Wesgro’s IP team will also seek to ensure complete strategic alignment with the InvestSA One Stop Shop in the Western Cape.
In response to Minister Hanekom’s focus on making it easier for tourists to access South Africa, Minister Winde commented: “We welcome the opportunity to have a frank discussion with Minister Hanekom about ways to grow our important industry. I am pleased that he has said that he will be engaging with the Department of Home Affairs around the visa issues that have plagued tourism in recent years. I am also pleased that he shares our concerns for tourist safety on our mountain trails and hope that our departments can work together to put a solution on the table that helps ease the minds of our visitors and mountain users so that they feel safe while enjoying our exceptional natural surroundings.”
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, emphasised Wesgro’s intentions for the year ahead. “We will look to take advantage of the global opportunities to benefit local companies with the objective of growing the Cape’s economy and creating jobs. Cape Town has positioned itself as a pioneer in addressing water scarcity and we must continue to build a climate change resilient destination that the rest of the world can aspire to emulate. We are open for business and our team is ready to assist you in investing in the Cape.”
The Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille commended the excellent work done by Wesgro. “I am always encouraged to see the good work Wesgro are doing despite the tough economic climate. In the last three months of 2017 alone Wesgro and other industry bodies funded by the City facilitated R1.3-billion in investments. These investments created thousands of jobs in the business process out-sourcing, ICT, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors. Wesgro’s stellar work with Cape Town Air Access is attracting more visitors and investors to our city and I look forward to more successes in 2018. Cape Town is showing resilience despite the many head winds it is facing. We must continue fostering more partnerships and working harder to position Cape Town as a forward looking, globally competitive business destination.”