Green economy

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Green economy
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Green economy
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The Western Cape is home to some of the first investments in renewable energy manufacturing in the country, driving the region as a leader in the alternative energy sector. It was the first province to implement a sustainable energy strategy and a policy for solar water heaters, and to set renewable energy targets.

Atlantis SEZ expected to attract around R3.7-billion (US$262million) in investment over the next two decades

Province attracts substantial investment in renewable energy, bioeconomy, sustainable agriculture and more

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The Western Cape, and Cape Town in particular, is positioning itself as the green economy hub for South Africa, and a number of renewable energy companies have their headquarters in Cape Town. Economic clusters include solar photovoltaic manufacturing, electrical manufacturing, fuel supply, professional services and supporting bodies.

The province offers investors prime locations, modern infrastructure, a skilled workforce, relatively low operational costs and an abundance of natural resources.

Opportunities within the green economy include greentech manufacturing, the uptake of resource efficiency technologies and job creation. Key sectors are renewable clean energy; sustainable transport; water management; waste management; sustainable agriculture/land management; and green buildings.

There are compelling reasons why the Western Cape is viewed as the green economic hub of Africa. Coupled with a strong, rapidly growing market for green technologies and services, the Western Cape offers Africa’s renewable energy and clean tech hub with a critical mass of leading companies already present in the province.

The province offers convenient shipping links, being close to major ports and roads, and has a number of outstanding universities and other educational institutions, preparing a next-generation workforce with the skills to contribute to the greentech sector.

There are significant market opportunities for businesses and investors in sustainable agriculture, utility-scale solar and wind energy, energy services, water, bioeconomy, waste and resource efficiency.

In addition, there is a range of investment incentives in the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for green technologies, coupled with the availability of major professional services and financiers. The City of Cape Town has made several financial and non-financial incentives available to investors located within the Atlantis SEZ.

Greentech comprises green technologies that work to reduce or reverse people’s impact on the planet. These include turbines for wind power, solar panels, insulation materials, biofuels, electric cars and green building materials.

The Western Cape is poised to become the leading green technology hub on the African continent, with the Atlantis Special Economic Zone at its heart.

This epicentre of greentech activities offers opportunities and incentives to investors from all around Africa and further afield. The Atlantis SEZ is expected to attract approximately R3.7-billion (US$262-million) in investment over the next two decades.

The Atlantis SEZ was established to unlock the underlying economic value of existing and underutilised infrastructure through the creation of a greentech manufacturing hub.

Wind turbines, solar panels, insulation, biofuels, electric vehicles, materials recycling and green building materials are all examples of initiatives that will find a place here in the future.

Wesgro has partnered with GreenCape, a non-profit organisation that drives the adoption of economically viable green economy solutions, working with businesses, investors, academics and the government to help unlock the investment and employment potential of green technologies and services.

Western Cape municipalities are implementing public-private partnerships that can attract a projected R1.3-billion in investment and create 1 600 jobs over the next five years.

GreenCape’s Waste Programme supports the development of a thriving, legally compliant secondary materials industry in the province, with the aim of contributing to a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy.

Opportunities in the recycling market include paper, glass and plastics; organic waste; metals; e-waste; and construction and demolition waste.

The organisation’s work in the waste sector goes beyond municipal waste, including opportunities for biogas and organic waste.

Independent market research shows strong demand for renewable energy and green technologies from South Africa and the African continent.

Cape Town was ranked among the top 21 global investment destinations In 2017 by the Financial Times fDi Intelligence service.

Wesgro supports investors and businesses looking to enter the green space. However, the annual green economy market intelligence reports released by Wesgro partner GreenCape, the Western Cape’s specialist green economy sector development agency, is an investor’s best starting point.

The 2019 editions cover key green economy sectors, including energy services, utility-scale renewable energy, water, waste, sustainable agriculture and electric vehicles.

SEZ logo
Atlantis SEZ
Located in Atlantis, about an hour out of Cape Town, the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was created to stimulate industrial development and job creation in the green economy. The City of Cape Town has made several financial and non-financial incentives available to investors located within the Atlantis SEZ. Visit

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The Wesgro Investment Promotion Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our team of expert Portfolio Managers have more than 40 years of combined experience in supporting new investors commercialise their businesses in the region, and in helping established businesses grow and expand.

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

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