Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town. PHOTO: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – The media tour ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa conference highlighted the investment case for the Western Cape. 

Part of the reason for Cape Town hosting WEF was to attract foreign direct investment into South Africa. 

In his welcoming remarks, David Maynier, the Western Cape provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities highlighted the attraction of the Western Cape for foreign investors.

“There is an abundance of investment opportunities in a variety of sectors that we’d like you to consider across Africa, South Africa and the Western Cape. There is more to Cape Town and the Western Cape than meets the eye. We are a beautiful place to visit, but also a top business destination and an economic powerhouse on the African continent,” he said.

“We are Africa’s tech hub, with the Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech ecosystem employing more people than Lagos and Nairobi’s tech ecosystem combined. We are an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting over 299 FDI projects in the last 10 years, totalling $7.6 billion (R113.3bn),” he said.

“We are the location of the fastest-growing green economy in Africa, with 70 percent of all South African renewable energy manufacturing taking place in the Western Cape,” he noted.

Chinese investment in manufacturing

The media tour encompassed a visit to the Hisense factory in Atlantis, which showcased Chinese investment in manufacturing; a tour of the Cape Town Film Studios, which showed off Cape Town’s investment in world-class facilities that leverages homegrown talent to benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution and visit to Hazendal wine estate, which enabled journalists a chance to sample what the Western Cape had to offer in terms of agro-processing.

In June 2013, Hisense invested R350 million in the Western Cape by opening a new TV and fridge factory in Atlantis, Cape Town. The groundbreaking launch of the facility was witnessed by China’s President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma. 

The initial capacity was 400 000 units and the factory has provided 750 direct jobs and 7 000 indirect jobs locally.

After five years’ of effort, Hisense production efficiency has improved dramatically, with TV daily production rate which has increased to 2 300 units from 750 units, while the fridge daily production rate has risen to 1 530 units from 355 units.

Hisense has also been cultivating to expand its export business while continuously improving its product line-up. The product structure has been adjusted in response to the problem of power supply in African countries. In the case of refrigerators exported to African countries, Hisense introduced many energy-saving, high-efficiency refrigerators to meet the needs of the local market.

Export business sales revenue exceed $41m

In 2018, the export business sales revenue exceeded $41m, and Hisense products made in South Africa are sold in more than 10 African countries including Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

The second stop on the tour was the Cape Film Studios. These studios provide more value for money on the screen than anywhere else in the world, as the studios have the ability to meet all production requirements. 

The workmanship of the crew is home grown and indirectly the studios provided employment for 88 000 people during the first eight years of operation, which had an economic impact of R15bn. 

Studio chief executive Nico Dekker was rated the leading studio manager in the world by the Producers Guild of America.

The final stop on the tour was the first wine estate on the Stellenbosch wine route, namely Hazendal, which was founded in 1699 and is currently owned by a Russian, Dr Mark Voloshin, who bought the farm in 1994.

BUSINESS REPORT