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Today, I opened the Cape Town launch of the World Bank’s research report on Doing Business in South Africa 2018. The World Bank compared South Africa’s nine metros to 189 other economies across the world.

Cape Town came out top of all metros in two of the World Bank’s four indicators.

The city’s top ranking in terms of providing electricity puts Cape Town in the top 25% of city economies worldwide. It takes 91 days to connect a customer, much quicker than Tshwane with 110 days and Johannesburg at 109 days.

Cape Town also ranks first in dealing with construction permits. New businesses take 88 days to obtain all the necessary licences and permits, completing required notifications and inspections, nearly half to Johannesburg’s 155-day period.

The World Bank’s findings follows the recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report naming Cape Town as the top ‘opportunity city’ in Africa. The report placed Cape Town 6th among middle-income cities – behind Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Shanghai and Mexico City.

These results are proof of the many efforts we have put in to building an opportunity city and I am pleased with the progress the City has made. But as I always caution, we will not become complacent as there is still a lot more work to do to ensure that we make this great city event greater by attracting more investment so that more people can find employment.

Two years ago, following the World Bank’s previous Doing Business report, the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department and I drew up a plan on how we could improve our rankings.

We set out a clear strategy to improve on the indicators that the World Bank was measuring. We developed a checklist of things we knew investors, local and international, look at when deciding where to invest.

The City checklist of key indicators that we know are top priorities for investors are:

· Reliable infrastructure. The City spends R6 billion on infrastructure annually

· Fast internet. To date we have installed 848 km of fibre optic cables

· Energy security. We have set a goal of sourcing up to 20% of Cape Town’s energy supply from renewable energy by 2020

· Clean governance that is reliable and transparent. During the past seven years the City has obtained four consecutive clean audits and three unqualified audit opinions

· Air Access. Our award-winning initiative is attracting more direct flights to Cape Town making it easier for investors and tourists to visit our city

· One-stop-shop for investors. In my office, Invest Cape Town cuts red tape making it seamless to do business

· A skilled and talented labour pool. Cape Town has four universities and a diverse labour pool

We cannot be satisfied with being number one in South Africa or Africa. We compete in a globalised economy and we must operate with the knowledge that the world owes us nothing.

I am proud of what we have accomplished so far but there is still a lot to be done. There are still many Capetonians who are unemployed and living outside the labour sector.

In August 2018, Statistics South Africa released encouraging economic results which showed that employment increased by 74 000 in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same time last year.

This was the eighth consecutive quarter in which the Cape Town has shown positive employment growth.

In fact, when considering the expanded unemployment rate, Cape Town’s rate, at 22,6%, is far below the national expanded unemployment rate of 37,2%.

We must measure our success according to whether all Capetonians have access to decent work opportunities in an economy that is inclusive and growing.

I am proud to leave behind a mind-set of a City that is customer-centric and committed to building a globally competitive, forward-looking Cape Town.

Most importantly, Cape Town is a city that is caring and creates an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation that is inclusive.

It is now time to dig deeper so that we can continue putting in place more measures to create a seamless experience for investors, local and foreign, to invest and create jobs.

Councillor Raelene Arendse, Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, added: ‘We can celebrate the City of Cape Town’s ranking as number one in two of the four indicators highlighted by the Executive Mayor. I would like to acknowledge the City officials for their tenacity and dedication to bring the organisation up to this level.

‘But I would like to challenge them to use the digital revolution that is disrupting the world to improve on the other two indicators in which the City is lagging, namely, registering property and enforcing contracts. I am confident that by the publication of the next report the City will be able to demonstrate to potential investors that we mean business, and we are ready and eager to address any possible regulatory complexities that might impact negatively on our corporate as well as small-, medium- and micro-enterprises,” she said.

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