DEVELOPMENT: One Cape Promotional Body Welcomed
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE Cape Chamber of Commerce has welcomed moves by the Provincial Government to create a strong and unified body to promote economic development in the region.
“It has been clear for some time that economic growth and job creation on a national scale have been disappointing so we are keen to see what can be achieved here with a strong agency and a determination to support and promote business,” said Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber. “If the new development agency gets it right it could show the way for the rest of the country.”
He said that at this stage it was not certain what form the agency would take, but it was clear that the existing 18 agencies made for an untidy and inefficient situation. “Some of them have been more successful than others but we need a co-ordinated approach to get things moving.”
"Simply cutting down on administrative duplication will allow business to benefit from the move. Asynchronous efforts are just not efficient. We hope the new agency will drive new levels of efficacy which will quickly translate into meaningful delivery and real economic growth in the region," adds Viola Manuel, executive director at the Chamber.
Bagraim said it was probably true that the Western Cape relied too much on tourism and the agricultural industries and it needed to build a solid industrial base. “Both tourism and agriculture are fickle industries and can be badly affected by forces beyond our control such as drought or air travel problems. Europe’s economic woes will probably cause a drop in tourism during the next festive season and it is important to give our economy a broader base to help us deal with the valleys.
“We need to develop our manufacturing industries to create a more balanced growth path and that is where a strong development agency could play a big role.”
In particular an industrial development zone in Saldanha could draw new industries and create many jobs outside of the traditional industrial profile of the Western Cape.
Rapid developments in technology were also creating opportunities for new kinds of businesses such as green industries, renewable energy and the processing of rare minerals and even rare earth elements. “A strong agency which can see the possibilities and set up opportunities for new industries to get started could make a huge and welcome impact on the Western Cape,” Bagraim said.
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