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Leadership through action: Transforming the past and creating a future

Forums such as this one are integral in helping governments and business work together to build our economy.

As you may know, Cape Town recently received the distinction of being named the leading digital city on the continent, employing 40 000 people in the tech sector, the most tech-related jobs. This was mentioned in the CCID’s State of Cape Town report. This number is more than Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, combined and is something we are very proud of.

Cape Town received this accolade because it offers innovation, with the necessary infrastructure and tools to grow as a tech hub. We received it because Cape Town works hard to ensure it moves forward and can help to uplift more people through creating an environment in which work opportunities are created. We are a city that is moving forward into innovation and the modern world.

More than half of the tech companies in the province, are based in Cape Town. We also have the lowest unemployment in the country, and this is because we create the environment in which job creation can take place. We will continue to work harder to make sure that more people have access to employment opportunities.

Much of the City and its partners’ hard work is highlighted in the same report I mentioned earlier, the 2018 State of Cape Town Central Report. Among the successes, Cape Town’s economic centre, contributes nearly three quarters of the GDP in the Western Cape.

With nearly R5 billion in foreign direct investment, numerous international businesses have set up shop in Cape Town.

We are thankful for the hard work done by the officials in our Enterprise and Investment Department as well as investment agency WESGRO, entities like Cape Town Tourism, and forums such as this one where ideas for growth can be shared and discussed.

With this mission of creating the right conditions for employment, it must be noted that for the 2018/19 financial year, R2,7 billion worth of investment was facilitated by the City’s Strategic Business Partners and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) companies that are supported by the City to grow investment, job creation and skills development.

These initiatives created 4 764 jobs and provided skills training to 2 109 individuals during the City’s past financial year (ending in June 2019).

While government can do as much as we can, we need the private sector as partners in this journey to eradicate unemployment. We also need our residents to be innovative and become their own bosses to create work opportunities.

Entrepreneurs are a vital part of our economy and earlier this month, the City Business Hub was launched in the Strand Street Concourse, with the aim of assisting budding business people to take their projects to the next level.

The Business Hub Helpdesk resolved 95% of the 1 049 service requests from small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) and entrepreneurs during the previous financial year. Having its new home in the Concourse, makes it more accessible to SMMEs and entrepreneurs.

This walk-in centre will also enhance the City’s One Stop Shop offering by expanding the services available and reducing administrative barriers. Through this centre, we want to contribute towards a business friendly environment where we will reduce barriers and other red tape measures.

With all the successes of investment and job creation, it is important that we bear in mind that our approach to business must also include a focus on resilience and using resources efficiently.

With the attractiveness of Cape Town as a business and urban living centre drawing in more people to live and work here, our biggest challenge remains providing housing to an expanding number of residents. Keeping these successes in mind, we realise that more needs to be done to improve the lives of our residents and help them access opportunity.

I am sure my Mayoral Committee Members for Economic Development, James Vos, Spatial Development and Planning, Marian Nieuwoudt, Transport and acting Finance, Felicity Purchase, as well as my other MayCo members here today will have lots more to say, so please engage them, and lets work together to grow the Cape Town economy.

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