Cape Town and the Western Cape – first in Africa to embrace virtual missions

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Cape Town and the Western Cape – first in Africa to embrace virtual missions
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Cape Town and the Western Cape – first in Africa to embrace virtual missions
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12 May 2020

The Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and Wesgro are proud to announce the first virtual missions in Africa, completed by the Wesgro’s Trade Unit.

As part of the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town’s outward investment strategy into Africa for 2020-21, Wesgro, the Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape facilitated a successful online introductory investment mission to Botswana from the 5th to the 7th of May 2020. The mission took place on the Zoom platform, a cloud-based video conferencing service used for virtual meetings. Companies that signed up for the mission needed to have a Zoom application on their laptops or PCs, and the mission featured webinars and B2B meetings.

12 different businesses from the Western Cape took part in the mission, which was attended by a total of 83 people. Other stakeholders such as Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) South Africa, Mazars Botswana, as well as the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of the Republic of South Africa also participated in the investment webinar on the 6th of May, where key stakeholders presented the investment opportunities, incentives, legislation and tax implication for companies investing in Botswana. Furthermore, a number of informative business networking sessions were held by these key stakeholders and businesses, all through the virtual platform.

Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, adds: “Well done to Wesgro on this innovative approach to continued trade and investment in the Western Cape. We firmly believe that if done responsibly, the economy in the Western Cape can open up while preventing the spread of Covid-19, and we will continue to work hard to support business to do so.”

In addition to the Botswana mission, Wesgro’s Trade and Development desk will lead a delegation of 20 companies on a virtual trade mission to Guinea on the 15th of May 2020. This mission will also be conducted via the Zoom platform, and will feature group meetings and other B2B engagements between Western Cape businesses and key Guinean institutions and importers.

The aim of the mission is to introduce Western Cape businesses in the agribusiness, manufacturing and services sectors and their products to key Guinean businesses, with a goal to have them remain connected and increase exports to Guinea during and beyond Covid-19.

Over the past two years Wesgro has been initiating business linkages with Guinea, a country that has shown a lot of interest in sourcing South African products and services. A physical mission to Conakry was already in the pipeline, but due to the lockdown restrictions Wesgro had to quickly adjust to “business unusual” and found an alternative solution to link up Western Cape companies to potential Guinean business partners.

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management within the City of Cape Town, commented: “This crisis calls for partnerships, innovation and smart solutions as we adjust to a new way of doing business. The Cape Town economy is diverse and resilient. Our city is the go-to-city in Africa and globally for trade and tourism. By bringing our adaptability and innovation to the fore, I am convinced we will overcome these new challenges. A prime example of this is leveraging tech platforms to connect our people and products to new and existing source markets through these virtual missions. My Department of Enterprise and Investment, together with Wesgro, will continue to invest in projects and programmes that embrace innovation to seek out new opportunities to benefit the people of Cape Town.”

Wesgro is now planning on replicating strategies used for these virtual mission for the upcoming missions to Cote d’ivoire, Cameroon, and many others going forward until travel restrictions are lifted and it is safe to visit foreign markets again.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concludes: “The team at Wesgro has lead the way in finding solutions that can take us into a new world of working. We are proud to remain connected to key international countries and partners, having adapted and disrupted the traditional models via digital interventions. We continue to seek measurable ways to innovate in the trade space.”