Cape Town - Cape Town business owners and investors are satisfied with the city’s economic environment and potential for growth.
This is according to a survey by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID).
The survey, conducted in the third quarter of 2023, revealed that about 87.5% of business owners based in Cape Town’s prominent business district were satisfied with their current business conditions.
According to the CCID, the survey reiterated points made in its quarterly Business Confidence Index in 2022, that confidence among business owners in the CBD had remained consistently high despite the country’s economic woes.
CCID chairperson and Boxwood Property Fund CEO Rob Kane said the CBD’s remarkable recovery was a testament to the resilience and adaptability of business owners.
Kane said it was delightful to see how their hard work, innovation and passion had paid off post-Covid-19, while the inner city remained a source of niche retailers with authentic offerings that attract the interest of local, national and international visitors and investors.
Kane also attributed business owner satisfaction to the City of Cape Town’s involvement, saying that the CBD’s business-friendly reputation affirmed the local municipality’s successful Ease-of-Doing-Business Index initiative.
The index, launched by the City in May, is used by the local government to track progress made by the City to create an enabling environment for businesses.
At the launch, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the index would assist its departments to strategise and deliver services with a clear view of the City’s progress throughout the journey.
“The purpose is to build a thriving business community to cement Cape Town as a city of hope for all,” Hill-Lewis said.
Mayco member for economic growth James Vos echoed Hill-Lewis’s remarks, saying the index included 10 critical indicators that the City would use to track its business-facing services.
Vos said this would enable the City to plan for greater infrastructure investment and economic growth in Cape Town.
He said: “The findings highlighted in the CCID’s report prove that the City’s projects and programmes not only deliver services of the highest standard, but to improve infrastructure has boosted business confidence.”
While the City and the CCID’s focus has been on recovering the city’s economic status, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has released a call for both the public and private sectors to join it in advocating for economic reforms to create an environment conducive to growth.
The CCCI’s call follows the release of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which showed that while other developing nations have successfully reduced poverty, South Africa faces persistent challenges that hinder its progress.
The MPI is based on research conducted by Oxford University. It measures acute poverty covering more than 100 developing countries.
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Jacques Moolman said South Africa was at a critical crossroads in its quest for economic development and poverty reduction.
Moolman said South Africa urgently required economic reform to grow the economy in such a way that it could lift more people out of poverty.
“A standout feature of the latest MPI is that 25 countries halved their global MPI value within 15 years, this shows that progress at scale is attainable. In August, Stats SA established the food poverty line at R760 per person per month.
“Now considering the national minimum wage, the lower-bound poverty line and the upper-bound poverty line there is a stark contrast that underscores the urgent need to address wage disparities and the challenge of enabling workers to adequately provide for their families in a financially strained environment, thereby reducing poverty in South African society.
“Addressing wage issues can only be achieved in a growing economy where businesses can operate efficiently and productively. Unfortunately, the current operating environment does not permit such conditions, with only minimal wage increases and, in many cases, job losses,” Moolman said.
However, the Western Cape government maintains that it’s steadily working to achieve the level of economic growth needed to lift many more people out of poverty.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger said: “The WCG has implemented an ambitious economic action plan, ‘Growth For Jobs’ or G4J, which aims to enable a R1 trillion, jobs-rich, inclusive, resilient, thriving, and diverse provincial economy that is growing between 4% and 6% in real terms, by 2035.
“As of the second quarter of 2023, South Africa faces a daunting unemployment rate. While the Western Cape fares comparatively better, there is much more work to be done to create more jobs for more people. South Africa and the Western Cape have consistently improved on the Human Development Index (HDI) scores over the last decade, indicating progress in well-being, education, healthcare, and living standards.”
Wenger said that the HDI in the Western Cape has been improving in the context of a deteriorating Gini Coefficient, unprecedented in-migration, and slow economic growth.
“However, worsening income inequality, combined with slow economic growth, shows that the only way we are going to be able to lift more people out of poverty is by dramatically growing our economy, to create jobs,” she said.