STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
Note to editors: below are extracts from speeches by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, and the City’s Director for Trade and Investment, Lance Greyling, at the launch of Invest Cape Town held at the Cape Town Stadium today, 10 November 2016. Invest Cape Town will provide stakeholders and economic role players with a platform and tools that speak to the City’s commitment to boosting its profile as a leading investment destination.
Remarks by Mayor Patricia de Lille
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Eddie Andrews
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris
Wesgro Board Chairperson, Professor Brian Figaji
Accelerate Cape Town CEO, Ryan Ravens
Robbie Stammers and Kyle Villet from Fast Company
Members of the media
Good morning, goeie môre, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.
It truly gives me great pleasure to be launching this initiative today as it is something that I feel extremely passionate about.It is, in fact, one of the reasons why two-and-a-half years ago I established a Trade and Investment Department in my office, because I wanted investors to know that Cape Town is serious about attracting investment into our region and growing our economy.
I recognise that the City has a certain role to play in driving economic growth in our region, primarily through providing stable governance, delivery of infrastructure, and constantly finding ways of making it easier to do business.
I am blessed to be mayor of what I consider to be the most beautiful city in the world – a city whose natural beauty certainly sells itself.
On the back of this natural beauty and our diverse cultural offerings, Cape Town is already recognised as an iconic tourism destination the world over. We can certainly be proud of that fact.
Unfortunately though, the success of this tourism image has often overshadowed our diverse economic offerings and our enormous strengths in certain key sectors.
This is a great pity because Cape Town is not only a beautiful face, it has enormous substance and a variety of attributes that makes it an extremely attractive investment destination.
What is therefore needed is an overarching business narrative that emphasises the unique characteristics of this region and that all stakeholders can buy into and take out to the rest of the world.
We have already done some of the work in developing this brand essence with our partners like Wesgro and we have formulated some elements of what that narrative could be, but this is something we want to now test and refine with the stakeholders of Cape Town.
In the Cape Town city-region we value, nurture and inspire ideas.
We believe in the power of ideas to shape the future and unlock Africa’s potential.
Our continent faces unique challenges, so we’re finding new, resourceful ways of doing things.
Together, we’re discovering unconventional solutions to developing country problems.
With an eclectic mix of cultures and mindsets, we challenge each other to think differently.
Our region is home to the top universities on the continent, providing unrivalled access to Africa’s brightest young minds.
Our natural surroundings are a source of inspiration and well-being, providing the space and balance to experiment, innovate and unlock creative insight.
Positioned at the tip of Africa, with high-quality infrastructure and strong governance, we are a strong and supportive base from which to invest, expand and export.
We would like to be the functional African hub where ideas come to life through the energy and ambition of our people.
We could be a springboard to the rest of the continent, connecting businesses to opportunities for African growth.
To investors, Cape Town can be a high-performance African business hub that supports big ideas.
The place that enables African growth by linking businesses to new insights, opportunities and unconventional solutions.
To SMMEs, Cape Town can be an African business hub where you can grow your business and turn your ideas into reality.
We will support businesses of all sizes by nurturing creativity, inspiring innovation and encouraging resourcefulness.
To influencers, Cape Town can be a place where businesses of all sizes can turn their ideas into real value.
A business hub at the cutting edge of skills development, idea generation and African innovation.
Globally, city regions are being recognised as strategic drivers of economic growth in the world.
In many ways they are becoming more important than nation-states, particularly as investment destinations. In South Africa this is no different.
It is our metro regions that drive our economic growth in South Africa, and Cape Town has the second largest city economy in the country behind Johannesburg.
I must emphasise that in launching this initiative we are not looking at other South African cities as our competitors, but rather as being in a global race against other iconic cities in the world to attract key investment to our shores.
I firmly believe that we have all the necessary factors in place to attract this investment and compete with other global cities.
In order to effectively do this though, we need to uncover and highlight our economic success stories to the world.
We need a credible economic narrative that amplifies our unique economic offering to global investors. This is precisely what this initiative is seeking to do.
Building Cape Town’s image as a globally competitive business destination is a job for all of us and I am excited to launch this initiative today.
Let’s help grow this economy and attract more businesses that can create the much-needed jobs that our people require.
Remarks by Lance Greyling
Cape Town is attracting thinkers, innovators and design-led entrepreneurs who are helping to build an ecosystem that is strong in many aspects of the knowledge economy.
We are the leader on the African continent in the information technology sector, with more tech start-ups than anywhere else on the continent.
We have been chosen as the African headquarters of innovation by companies such as Barclay Rise and Thomson Reuters.
Cape Town is also the home to many of South Africa’s and Africa’s financial institutions and, coupled with the national headquarters of many legal and consultancy firms, we offer all the services needed to underpin a global drive into Africa.
One of the fastest growing sectors in our economy is in fact the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, with many global call centres and online retailers like Amazon choosing to conduct their operations from our shores.
For those companies wanting to get their goods into the retail markets on the continent, most of the retail giants have headquarters in Cape Town with a store presence across the entire African continent.
The Cape Town region is also a knowledge centre, with four higher education institutions within our environs.
Leveraging off this wealth of human resources are advanced manufacturing capabilities in some surprising sectors.
In fact, Cape Town even has a burgeoning cluster of aerospace companies manufacturing satellites for the global market.
This advanced manufacturing capability spills over into the health technology field, with some companies producing world-class medical devices specifically geared towards providing affordable solutions to developing country challenges.
This is not to mention our electronics sector with the hugely successful investment of the Hi-Sense factory.
Cape Town is also the green hub of Africa accounting for most of the local manufacturing for the national renewable energy programme.
Last week we also had four energy conferences take place in Cape Town, proving that we are not only the events capital of Africa, but that we can also lay claim to being an energy capital.
It gives me great pride to say that I could go on and on listing the positive and surprising facts about Cape Town’s economy that make us such an attractive investment destination.
But that is not the purpose of today. Today is a new chapter in positioning Cape Town as a globally competitive business destination.
The City wants to produce material that can be used by a range of actors in this space and that is why we are going to start with a three-month stakeholder engagement process to ensure that there is alignment on our messaging.
The material that we produce, including the brand architecture that we will be unveiling today, will ultimately be open-source, allowing everyone to become economic ambassadors for Cape Town.
We will put discussion documents up on our holding website, along with some pointers as to what we envisage the brand essence to be. But we welcome engagements with the aim of involving as many influential actors in this endeavour as possible. We will also have a Twitter handle to facilitate this engagement.
It must be emphasised that although the City is launching this initiative, we do not see this as being owned by us. If we are going to truly position Cape Town as a globally competitive business destination, it is going to require a variety of actors in this economy working together to entrench this narrative.
A great deal of work has already been done in this space and a number of agencies, particularly Wesgro, have done a great job in driving billions of rands worth of investment into the Cape Town city region. This initiative does not in any way take away from these efforts, but rather seeks to augment them by providing an overarching narrative that allows all actors to sell this region’s economy to the world.
There are great stories to be told around existing economic successes in this region and our unique selling points for companies wishing to drive their African growth agendas.