Why you should export from Cape Town and the Western Cape

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Why you should export from Cape Town and the Western Cape
Get In Touch
Why you should export from Cape Town and the Western Cape
Get In Touch


Exporting can be an excellent way to grow your business: it allows you to reach a large number of new customers in international markets; it can help increase revenue, achieve economies of scale and offset seasonal risks; it provides different types of markets; and it helps drive innovation and competitiveness.

A springboard into Africa

The Western Cape is an excellent springboard for companies seeking to invest into the rest of Africa. Wesgro’s trade team not only assists Western Cape-based companies to export to the rest of Africa, but also, through its Outward Foreign Direct Investment mandate, assists companies to expand their footprint across the continent by investing. We can assist you set up production and manufacturing facilities in a number of African countries.

The Cape is perfectly situated to access the rapidly growing economies and expanding consumer markets of Africa. Three ports and a network of road, rail and air transport also offer an easy link to the rest of the world. A significant number of international companies investing in the Western Cape do so to access the larger African market.

Exports from the Western Cape have been steadily rising over the past decade, with the province being responsible for more than half of South Africa’s total agricultural exports. The rest of the African continent is the number one destination for exports from the Western Cape.

Exports from South Africa, by the numbers

  • South Africa is the number one source of imported grapefruits in the USA
  • South Africa is the number two source of imported oranges in the USA
  • South Africa is the number one source of imported fruit and nuts in the Netherlands
  • South Africa is the number one source of imported grapes in the United Kingdom

The top export products from Cape Town and the Western Cape

In 2018 the top export products and their value included:

  • Refined petroleum: R14.4-billion
  • Citrus fruit: R12.8-billion
  • Wine: R9.17-billion
  • Grapes: R6.76-billion
  • Apples, pears and quinces: R6.4-billion
  • Products of iron or non-alloy steel: R4.04-billion
  • Fruit and vegetable juice: R2.18-billion
  • Fruits, nuts and other edible parts of plants: R1.95-billion
  • Fish fillets: R1.8-billion
  • Yachts: R1.78-billion

In total, export products amounted to a value of at least R124-billion over 2018.

Wesgro’s international trade strategy

  • To develop exporters, increase export capacity and strengthen export performance through the Export Advancement and Promotion Programme
  • To grow the exporter base through the Retain, Expand and New Exporters (REN) approach by integrating into local, regional and global value chains
  • To strengthen export promotion mechanisms through business-to-business trade seminars, exhibitions and expos
  • To improve the export-enabling environment and international competitiveness by addressing non-tariff barriers to trade
  • To increase demand for goods and services through market prioritisation, diversification and access
  • To diversify the export basket into more value‑added and manufactured goods and services through product diversification
  • To engage the top 100 Western Cape exporters, export councils and industry bodies

How Wesgro assists exporters

The Western Cape’s diverse economy, strong skills base and well-connected infrastructure present many opportunities for foreign buyers seeking high-quality goods and services.

Wesgro’s International Trade team is mandated to grow the value of exports from Cape Town and the Western Cape. To give effect to this, the team supports exporters from the Western Cape to reach new markets.

Over the past three years, Wesgro has facilitated global exports to the value of almost R17-billion, creating an estimated 3 000 local jobs. Wesgro has assisted almost 3 000 companies reach international markets over the past five years.

Many Western Cape-based businesses have made their international mark and have grown their businesses exponentially with Wesgro’s support in leading trade missions to export target countries.

We are passionate about growing local businesses and are excited to take this exciting journey with you.

Our services

Our core functions are to:
  • Promote and facilitate exports of goods and services from qualified companies in the Western Cape
  • Facilitate and support operations and expansion of qualified Western Cape companies into the rest of Africa through outward foreign direct investment
Our core business-to-business facilitation activities include:
  • Business agreement facilitation
  • Accessing finance
  • Buyer and company matching
  • Market research and information
  • Forging strategic collaborations and partnerships
Our promotion services include:
  • Outward Selling Missions (OSMs) and Inward Buying Missions (IBMs)
  • Advocacy and specialised advisory services
  • Access to strategic networks
  • Marketing of value‑added goods and services
Our Export Advancement and Promotion (EAP) services include:
  • Export-, market- and sector- awareness seminars
  • Focused technical export development training
  • One-on-one mentoring services from international and local experts in export marketing, export finance management, export costing methods and logistical training
Our InvestSA One Stop Shop now offers:
  • Direct access to key partners and services
  • Regulatory assistance for expansion into exports
  • Access to a network of strategic export partners

Looking for more information?
Search our resource library

The Wesgro Trade Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our diverse economy, strong skills base and well-connected infrastructure present many opportunities for foreign buyers seeking high-quality goods and services, as well as exporters looking to expand into the African market.

Read our latest sector and country fact sheets and research reports to identify new opportunities to grow your business.

Mar 2023
An Analysis of Wine Tourism in the Western Cape (2022)
Oct 2021
Promoting Green Trade Competitiveness
Oct 2021
Western Cape Trade Publication 2021
Jul 2021
Wesgro's Export Mission Plan for 2021 - 2022
Mar 2021
Investing in cannabis in South Africa