Today, Wesgro officially launched the 2021 Western Cape Trade Publication, putting the spotlight on global opportunities, risks and trade deals accomplished for Cape Town and the Western Cape for the 2020-2021 financial year. The document highlights a number of key achievements and insights relevant to Western Cape business, including:
- During the 2020-2021 financial year, Wesgro’s Export Promotion Unit, which is mandated to promote and facilitate the exports of goods and services from companies in the Western Cape, facilitated a total of 66 business agreements with an estimated economic value of R4.7 billion. These agreements will support the creation of approximately 357 jobs over the next five years. Besides exports, the unit is also mandated to promote and facilitate outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) into the rest of Africa. Giving effect to this mandate, the unit facilitated 7 business agreements with an estimated economic value of R727.8 million, supporting the creation of 345 jobs.
- National and international restrictions on international travel and large gatherings halted in-market export promotion activities during 2020. Wesgro’s export unit was, however, quick to adapt, leveraging technology to provide innovative virtual and hybrid solutions to continue to support Western Cape business with export training, export promotion and OFDI into the rest of Africa.
- During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Wesgro’s export unit executed on 40 virtual missions, facilitating engagements via online platforms between Western Cape exporters and international importers. The unit’s most successful online trade exhibition – the Cape Agri Export Week, which took place on 31 March 2021, brought together 80 Western Cape exporters, 6 Export Councils and over 200 international buyers in the fresh produce, processed & fine foods, cosmetics & essential oils, and wine & spirits industries. The exhibition was able to facilitate close to 500 business-to-business (B2B) meetings between attendees and allowed exporters the opportunity to showcase their products and businesses on an international stage.
- Turning to key Western Cape trade trends, despite an extremely challenging year, the value of exports grew by 7.4%, totalling R136.72 billion of goods exported in 2020. Primary agriculture and agri-processed products dominated the province’s exports, accounting for 7 out of the top 10 exports as measured by value. Citrus surpassed petroleum oils as the largest exported product from the Western Cape, with R18.8 billion exported in 2020. Wine ranks as the 2nd largest exported product (R9.6 billion), followed by apples, pears, and quinces (R9.1 billion).
- From a regional trading perspective, Europe (incl. UK) pipped Africa to the post as the largest export region from the Western Cape for the first time in six years, with R47.1 billion of goods exported to the region, compared to R39.2 billion exported to the rest of Africa. The decline in Africa trade is largely driven by the large fall in oil exports, however this is expected to re-balance in the next 12 months.
With exports forming an integral part of South Africa’s economic recovery, the Western Cape has emphasised the importance of an export-led growth economy. Wesgro’s export team will play a central role and will be expanding current activities and implementing new initiatives to help scale the support already provided to Western Cape exporters.
Speaking to the importance of increasing export and partnership opportunities in key sectors of the province’s economy, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “I would like to congratulate Wesgro’s Export Promotion Unit on demonstrating great innovation and adaption to continue driving international trade for the Western Cape during a very challenging time. Growing exports, especially through trade promotion and the removal of obstacles to exports was a critical lever in our strategy to grow the economy and create jobs pre-Covid, and will continue to be a priority as we seek to rebuild our economy in the Western Cape.”
“The recent approval of the Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy, a robust action plan that expands on our policies and programmes to boost business and employment prospects, speaks to the heart of our City and Provincial investment potential. This strategy follows an unflinching analysis of Cape Town’s socio-economic climate within the South African context and detailed input from business and industry stakeholders, academics, and members of the public. It is thus both bold and far-reaching in its goals, yet meticulously plotted with 189 deadline-driven steps that drill down into meeting the needs of industries while simultaneously tackling social issues that block access to opportunities for so many,” commented Mayoral Committee Member: Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.
“In spite of all the challenges faced, the agency has successfully adapted to this “new normal” over the past 15-months, with our Export Promotion Unit seamlessly transitioning to a virtual trade mission platform to successfully achieve their mandates. While mindful of the continuous change and uncertainties currently faced, we are confident that with the above-mentioned achievements and initiatives, Cape Town and the Western Cape will continue to grow its exports into Africa and the rest of the world, helping to grow the Cape economy and creating the jobs our province needs,” concluded Wesgro’s Acting CEO, Yaw Peprah.
To access the 2021 Western Cape Trade Publication, go to: https://www.wesgro.co.za/export/resources/western-cape-trade-publication-2021