STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
Last week the latest State of the Central City Report by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) was released and revealed that investor confidence has grown over the last five years, and Cape Town is the second biggest contributor to the National GDP.
About R16,232 billion of investment has been pumped into Cape Town since 2012, and just under R4,486 billion in property investment was completed.
While we are pleased with these findings, which reaffirm that our efforts in executing our Economic Growth Strategy are paying off, we will not rest on our laurels.
As part of our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP), we will work relentlessly to position Cape Town as a forward-thinking, globally competitive business destination.We remain committed to building an opportunity city that is open for business so that we can continue to attract investment and alleviate poverty by providing much-needed jobs for the people of our city.
For cities to truly thrive, they need to be both internally focused and globally positioned when it comes to growing the economy.
This is the approach that I took to the local economy early on in my first term as the Executive Mayor of Cape Town.
It was the basis of the City’s 2012 Economic Growth Strategy, which has several key intervention areas at the core of the City’s investment attraction efforts. These include: reducing red tape, creating a one-stop-shop in my office, rolling out a business incentives programme, improving Cape Town’s reputation as a serious investment destination by establishing Invest Cape Town, and focusing on infrastructure investment to create a crowding-in effect with the private sector. Some of these interventions include an extensive broad roll-out, pursuing energy security, and growing air access to increase direct flights to Cape Town.
We have aggressively promoted Cape Town as a safe investment location, both nationally and internationally, underpinned by our clean governance record of receiving four clean audits consecutively. We are now the tech start-up capital of Africa as well as the continent’s green energy hub.
We share academic Professor Nick Binedell sentiments, who said: ‘Our entire economic future will depend on cities. Economic growth is the oxygen of our democracy and cities are the engines of economic growth’.
I believe that cities are the drivers of change and in the City of Cape Town, we work from the premise that the world owes us nothing. This is why we are proactive in our goal to attract investment into our city.
We developed a checklist of indicators that we know are top priorities for investors:
· They look for reliable infrastructure – we make sure to spend R6 billion on infrastructure annually
· They look for fast internet – we have already installed 848 km of fibre-optic cables across the city
· They want energy security – we are taking the Minister of Energy to court so that we can buy energy directly from independent power producers and so that we can reach our own goal of having 20% of our energy sourced from renewable sources by 2020
· Investors want to operate in an environment with clean governance – we have received four clean audits consecutively
At the end of last year, Cape Town was ranked as 21st in the world on the list of cities with the best foreign direct investment strategies by fDi Intelligence – a division of the Financial Times.
We are the only African city to appear on this prestigious ranking and we are in the company of great global cities like Amsterdam, Miami and Auckland.
This is a further testament to the strategic effort of the City in recent years to position itself as a globally competitive business destination.
As a city, if we can harness the opportunities in our dynamic export-facing industries, including tourism wherein we have recently seen record visitor figures, we can write a different story – one that does not simply read off the national script, but rather one that tells of an inclusively growing city economy.
We welcome the findings of the latest State of the Central City Report and remain committed to working with residents and businesses to ensure that we show the world that Cape Town is getting on with becoming a world-class city.