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DEVELOPMENT: Cape Town To Be Africa's Global City


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More than 200 of the Western Cape’s most influential business stakeholders have gathered to discuss the future of the Cape Town city region (CTCR). The indaba, facilitated by business organization Accelerate Cape Town, was called Vision 2030 as the focus was on developing a plan for the CTCR 20 years after the FIFA World Cup in 2010, with the goal of being regarded as “Africa’s global city: a city of inspiration and innovation” by 2030.

The 2010 World Cup represents the greatest economic boost the province can expect for some time, but we don’t want to party through 2010 only to wake up and suffer a bout of depression because we don’t know what to do next,” says Accelerate Cape Town CEO Guy Lundy. “Vision 2030 is business’s contribution towards the thinking on how we create sustainable growth and prosperity for everyone in the Cape Town city region over the long-term, developing a more equal and just society in ways that are environmentally sensitive.  It helps us to draw a roadmap of how to develop our economy so that we truly can be considered Africa’s Global City, a city of inspiration and innovation, by 2030.”

Vision 2030 is the culmination of six months of research conducted for Accelerate Cape Town by Freedthinkers, a company that has done similar visioning processes for cities such as Johannesburg and Sandton.  Several hundred business, political, labour and other leaders were canvassed for their views on how the next 20 years should develop economically and on what a potential vision should be.  The vision statement, “Africa’s Global City, a city of inspiration and innovation” acknowledges both Cape Town’s African identity as well as its global standing.  “It suggests that we should be using our natural and human diversity, which inspires so many people, to develop and attract the world’s most creative thinkers and get them to develop global innovations from here,” says Lundy.  “It suggests we should be a thinking city that comes up with solutions for Africa and the world.”

The meeting kicked off with an overview of the CTCR in 2009, summed up as the “the best of times, the worst of times”. Although the area is riding high as restaurants, resorts, sporting events and its natural beauty garner international acclaim, there is widespread dissension in diversity, poverty, a pervading sense of hopelessness and a culture of drugs, gangs and violence. Delegates did not shy away from the unpleasant realities of Cape Town, acknowledging them in order to develop several key themes from which to work. These are to:

  • Make safety of residents a priority

  • Seriously address poverty

  • Develop social and human capital

  • Align higher education and training with business needs and opportunities

  • Make public transport work

  • Preserve and promote the region’s natural heritage and vibrant culture

  • Embrace Cape Town’s unique location

  • Reunite the city and the sea

  • Strive for greater quality of life and business opportunities

  • Acknowledge and celebrate progress

  • Become a city filled with natural inspiration and new ideas

  • Develop a co-ordinated and compelling brand for Cape Town

If these elements can start being tackled now and are coupled with the boost presented by the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the CTCR can begin creating a credible and achievable vision for 2030.  “In order to plan for 2030, we need to have a shared idea of the city we want to live in then,” says Lundy. After a review of the present state of the city region and the interventions required, delegates broke away to discuss key goals for two decades after the World Cup.

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