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Collaborating on economic improvement

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Interview: Andrew Boraine, CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership

In a conversation with Cape Business News, Andrew Boraine, CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) unpacked some of the problems slowing down economic development in the region, steps that need to be taken to fast-track this growth and the projects started by the EDP to start overcoming these challenges.

For 15 years, Boraine has been working with government and different partners to develop a more “whole of society” approach to economic growth.

“Government, both national and provincial, need partners to do its job properly,” says Boraine

The Western Cape Economic Development Partnership is an intermediary organization, it is not government, its not a private sector lobby group, its not a university think-tank or an NGO, it is somewhere in the middle of those organisations. 

It is a platform to help people collaborate on matters of economic development, including:

  • Reducing red tape
  • Driving investment
  • Training economic leadership

The aim is to improve the performance of the economic delivery system.

Challenges

  • There could be far closer co-operation between national, provincial and local government, and the situation as it stands leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Business organisations tend to be disjointed and disorganized and need to have a closer, practical working relationship with government.
  • Business is not engaging enough with universities; therefore there is not the necessary knowledge-transfer from university research into businesses to promote innovation.


“There is still a huge amount of work to be done,” acknowledges Boraine.

Solutions

  • The Western Cape EDP has set up a regional innovation network where it has all the roleplayers and stakeholders working together.

“From a situation of a lack of cooperation from the big institutions in the innovation space, we now have everyone working together. That is a step forward.”

  • It has also set up the “Regional Communicators Forum” to synchronise the messages from across organisations and platforms.

“People tell a whole lot of stories about Cape Town and the Western Cape that are not necessarily in sync. Other cities and regions put together a brand family that tells a while lot of different stories, but around the same narrative.”
“We’ve done that with this “Regional Communicators Forum” and managed to orchestrate that brand partnership and we have between 40 and 60 communicators from the mayor’s office, the premier’s office, Wesgro, Century City, the Waterfront, the universities, etc. copoperating and working together.”

Boraine concludes that the work of the EDP is “quite practical.”

“It’s not big budget solutions, we don’t have that kind of money. If you add commitment to collaboration to everyone’s mandate [do your job well, and do it in collaboration with other institutions] and we’ll add a lot of value to the economy.”

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