Today Wesgro and the Frontier Strategy Group (FSG) hosted an engagement on trade and investment in Africa.
The engagement provided those in attendance key research on the African consumer and a preview of developing trade and investment trends on the continent.
The engagement also featured a panel discussion with experts from Wesgro and FSG, as well as former South African Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation Faizel Ismail.
“A number of opportunities are available to Western Cape Companies in different value chains. Local companies have technology and capabilities that many other countries on the continent do not yet have, which is a prime opportunity to provide services and invest in the development of these sectors and regions,” said Ismail.
FSG, based in London, has partnered with more than 200 multinationals world-wide for nearly a decade, providing information and advisory services for emerging market executives.
“While companies can face some challenges when dealing with emerging markets’ data, these challenges are not insurmountable. With the right mix of scepticism, critical thinking, questioning, and creativity, most data problems can be overcome,” said FSG Africa Analyst William Atwell.
Africa is the largest destination region for investment by Western Cape companies, accounting more than 50% of outward investment. Retailers are leading this investment drive with their African expansion strategies, many of them with the support of Wesgro’s International Trade Unit.
Over the past two years Wesgro has assisted a number of Western Cape companies export products throughout Africa which will generate R535 million over the next five years, as well as create and retain 839 jobs. Wesgro has also facilitated R735 million in Western Cape outward foreign direct investment into Africa.
“Africa remains a continent of opportunities worthy of exploration and investment. Just this year Wesgro’s International Trade Unit has helped Western Cape companies secure over R350 million in export deals in Angola, Senegal and Ethiopia. We strongly encourage companies looking to expand their footprint in the rest of Africa to contact us for our latest research and details of upcoming trade missions,” said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris.
A survey published in Wesgro’s The Western Cape: Africa’s Trade and Investment Springboard report earlier this year examined the perspective and experience of companies that have recently invested in the Cape. Three quarters of companies surveyed had a positive perception of Cape Town as a base to do business in Africa and noted the city's sophisticated infrastructure as a draw card. Of the companies that intended to expand into Africa, a quarter indicated they would opt to run their African regional headquarters in Cape Town.
This year the Cape Town Air Access team, based at Wesgro, has already secured a new Kenyan Airways direct flight to Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, the expansion of the existing service to Luanda, Angola, as well as the expansion of Airlink’s service to Maun, Botswana and Windhoek, Namibia. The increase in connectivity to the rest of Africa helps to strengthen trade, investment and tourism ties to key partners on the continent.