Africa Day should spur renewed drive to get serious about growth and jobs

Office of the Premier

Western Cape

In the run-up to Africa Day on 25 May, it is important to highlight the Western Cape Government’s continuing drive to create opportunities for growth and jobs by positioning the region to benefit from the untapped trade and economic potential available in rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

The International Relations Directorate in the Department of the Premier has been drafting an International Relations and Africa strategy which will provide the analysis and framework for ensuring a coherent and meaningful approach in the Western Cape’s bilateral relations on the continent and build on the solid foundation already in place.

Currently, the Cape Town Port services a number of oil rigs which operate off the coasts of Nigeria and Angola and this services offering will increase when the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is launched. The scope for increased job creation through strengthened trade is encouraging given that the Western Cape’s economic relations with Angola have been growing exponentially, with Angola having eclipsed Mozambique as our largest trading partner in Africa from 2011.

Africa Day is also an opportunity to assess and address the blockages on investment and ease of doing business that are created by regulatory burdens. We can learn from the example of Kenya and Rwanda who are making significant strides in attracting investment and expanding their economic bases through investor-friendly policies. We should also take heed of warnings such as that from Nigeria billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote who urged that South Africa should review its laws and policies that are an obstacle to investment from other African states and that act as a brake on intracontinental trade.

The Western Cape seeks to become a hub for important growth sectors like ICTs and the green economy through its broadband roll-out and pioneering initiatives like the 110% GREEN campaign. With the information highways of online Africa developing faster than the new highways of offline Africa and the increasing energy demands of growing African economies stimulating demand for more energy, the Western Cape is poised to lead the information and green economy revolutions in Africa.

The Western Cape Government is partnering with a number of organisations and institutions on an Africa Day activity programme that will run from 23 – 26 May. The details of this programme are available on the Western Cape Government website: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/africa-day-celebrations-2013

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