The Western Cape has a strong focus on developing its manufacturing sector to stimulate the economy and create new jobs. The sector is already supported by multinational corporations that have chosen the region to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the local economy, as well as the rest of Africa.
The bulk of the Western Cape’s manufacturing activities are concentrated in the Cape Town area. Capacity ranges from heavy industry (the oil and gas sector, and the ship and boat repairs industry), to smaller-scale, niche manufacturing.
Key value-adding manufacturing industries include petroleum products, chemicals, rubber and plastic, as well as metal products, marine manufacturing, electronics, machinery and equipment.
Apart from heavy and light manufacturing in Cape Town and Saldanha Bay, manufacturing in the province’s niche sectors is strongly linked to the food and beverage industry, which needs downstream and upstream services and products, and to fruit production and its associated industries.
The Western Cape is perfectly positioned as a springboard into the fast-growing African market, with world-class infrastructure, exciting innovation, research and development capabilities, and an established manufacturing base.
The province’s manufacturing sector is supported by multinational corporations that have chosen the region to gain advantage of local and wider African economic opportunities.
There have been substantial investments into the Western Cape renewables and greentech industries in the past five years, and Cape Town actively supports the development of new green technologies.
The provincial government has established various incentives for manufacturing investors, and big corporations that have invested in the Western Cape include Kimberly-Clark, Hisense, Exar Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline and General Electric.
With its extensive coastline, the Western Cape is South Africa’s largest marine manufacturing centre, offering world-class boatbuilding skills and award-winning craftsmanship.
Apart from shipbuilding and boatbuilding, the marine industry in the Western Cape also includes the maintenance and repair of ships, boats and rigs, and the manufacturing of marine components and equipment.
Shipyards in the province have built large global networks, with market penetration in the Caribbean, United States, Mediterranean region and Asia.
Boat manufacturers in the province tend to be one-stop shops that are easy to deal with and help clients get maximum returns on their investment.
South Africa has a well-established electronics manufacturing sector, and Western Cape electronics industry is an important contributor to foreign-exchange earnings through exports and foreign direct investment.
With the rise of green electronics that are recyclable or easy to dispose of, Cape Town is home to companies using renewable materials to develop electronics, tying in with the city’s goal to become an increasingly green destination.
Cape Town has developed a diversified, resilient manufacturing base, with subsectors including circuit boards, consumer electronics, contract manufacturing, medical technology and space technology (an interesting sector that plays a key role in providing accurate weather predictions).
The sector is also linked to the manufacturing of appliances such as washing machines, with major international players including Hisense and IEG.
Cape Town is a comparatively low-cost destination for consumer electronics manufacturing, and offers excellent transport connectivity and port infrastructure for exporting to the rest of Africa and beyond.
The Western Cape has highly skilled maintenance personnel available and a large labour pool comprising all skill levels in a broad spectrum of industries.
Cape Town enterprises have a strong tradition of innovative design, and the Western Cape is home to a high concentration of skilled engineers, while the region is ideally situated to take advantage of the fast-growing demand for electronic products on the African continent.
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