Cape Town enabling foreign investment
Cape Town has not been immune to the factors exerting downward pressure on the South African economy. The Western Cape might have borne the brunt of the prolonged drought, but along with the rest of the country, it has been impacted by power outages, credit downgrades, political uncertainty, threats of land expropriation and protest action, shortfalls in skills and education, and more.
The difference, however, is that the Western Cape and specifically Cape Town, has managed to regain its appeal to foreign investor. This is no accident. Provincial government joined forces with Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, to come up with a plan of action.
The top six markets for investment in the Western Cape are the USA, China, UK, France, The Netherlands and Germany. Broadly speaking, they are looking for four things – all of which Cape Town and the Western Cape can offer:
- Access to growing markets
- Ease of doing business
- A growing economy
- World-class infrastructure
Infrastructure, in particular, is where Cape Town holds the trump card over other cities in the country. The slogan that says it is a city that works, can be seen in practice all over the province and the infrastructure in the Western Cape – especially the road network – is some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world. Along with that, Cape Town also offers reliable electricity, greatly improved water supplies thanks to the residents of the Western Cape pulling together like never before to banish the spectre of Day Zero, and it’s proven itself to be a resilient, responsive city that accommodates businesses’ unique needs.
This is what has made it a hub for broad range of industries – tech, the green economy, media, e-commerce, film and more. Cape Town has become much more than a tourist destination, although tourism remains a cornerstone of the local economy. Here too, there’s been significant growth. Not only is it home to the number one tourist attraction in Africa – the V&A Waterfront – but it also hosts the world’s largest museum of its kind in the multi-award-winning Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art. It’s a one-of-a-kind museum housed in a building that is a stupendous artwork in itself. It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, who is also behind New York City’s Hudson Yards and the newly-opened Coal Drops Yard at King’s Cross in London – part of one of the biggest urban regeneration projects in Europe.
The final part of the puzzle is local business. Foreign investors look to existing businesses to gauge overall investor sentiment. This is where companies like the Amdec Group of property developers come in. They play a major role in bringing economic prosperity back into the city by undertaking vast property developments such as the upcoming Harbour Arch precinct. This demonstrates far-reaching optimism about the prospects of both city and country. It boosts confidence in the future and attracts foreign investors, bolstering the local economy and benefiting the people and places of the Western Cape. When viewed together, these factors form the foundation upon which foreign investment could flow back into the city, the province and by extension the country.