If you type “Wesgro” into the search bar of your internet browser, dozens of articles pop up, the headlines of which all have the word “billion” in them. That’s billions of rand Wesgro is attracting to the Western Cape.
As the official Tourism & Trade, Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro recently announced that it has delivered an estimated R10.25-billion economic boost to the City of Cape Town and the province during the 2017/18 financial year, expected to create more than 7900 full time and part time jobs. This is contained in its annual report presented recently to the provincial parliament.
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris says achieving this was not easy, especially looking at the credit ratings downgrades, coupled with the worst drought on record, to hit the Cape. It meant that the agency had to do even more in a constrained economic environment.
But as they say, never let a good crisis go to waste, and Harris and his team certainly didn’t let grass grow under their feet, performing above expectations in the year under review.
“Our international trade promotion unit facilitated the signing of 53 business agreements with an estimated economic value of R2.83bn over the next five years as well as outward foreign direct investment projects valued at R190m. Increased efforts from the unit to work closely with bigger exporters in the province resulted in an exceptional export declaration to the value of R1.8bn for Vinimark Trading based in Stellenbosch. The company is the largest independent specialist wine wholesale company in South Africa, covering all aspects of distributing, marketing, exporting and importing of foreign and domestic wines.”
With regard to international export destinations, the Far East continued to show growth as did the African market. Harris says the agency is on track to meet its long-term goal of becoming Africa’s financial and trade hub.
The investment promotion unit realised committed investments worth R2.29bn, while the dedicated agribusiness unit helped land committed investments in its sector amounting to R756m off the back of six investments.
This investment in the agri-sector comes at a crucial time, and is expected to create more than 1400 jobs over the next five years.
The agency’s air-access strategy, to create direct links with other countries, is also beginning to bear fruit. In just three years, this initiative has helped land 13 new routes and 18 route expansions, adding an additional 750,000 inbound seats to Cape Town International Airport. These additional passengers have contributed an estimated R6bn to the Western Cape economy.
Congratulations to the team at Wesgro, who are doing their utmost to grow the provincial economy!