THE Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry expects to hear more about plans to develop the economy of the Western Cape in today's State of the Province address by the Premier Helen Zille.
It is nearly 10 months since the Economic Development Partnership was formed and we are looking forward to the first fruits of this organisation, said Mr Fred Jacobs, President of the Chamber.
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The Chamber believes the Western Cape is well placed to attract investors and we are hoping for some success stories. In particular we will be looking for progress on the planned Industrial Development Zone at Saldanha Bay and the project to provide almost universal access to fast broadband by 2014.
Mr Jacobs said the Western Caper had the best-educated population in the country and was ideally placed to take advantage of the promised broadband network which would create equal access to knowledge.
In addition it will bring us some great commercial advantages and could make us the centre of the country’s on-line business world.
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He said there would also be many other advantages as broadband eliminated distance so that even businesses in small country towns could compete with their city rivals. It should also reduce the need to travel and that will help to keep costs down and even reduce traffic on the roads.
Business was hoping for some good news on education as it was still the best way to combat poverty and, in the long run, stimulate economic growth.
Mr Jacobs said business was concerned about plans to place Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals under national control. The Province had done well with these hospitals and it was unlikely that they would be improved if they were run from Pretoria.
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Business was concerned about the high cost of healthcare and medical aid and would welcome positive developments in the Provincial hospital service.