A very warm welcome to Deputy Minister for the Department of Trade and Industry, Fikile Majola, to Cape Town and the Western Cape.
I certainly look forward to building a strong partnership with you and your team over the next four years as I know that you bear responsibility for the Western Cape province.
I am delighted that this is the first AfCFTA policy dialogue session, and that we have the opportunity to host the first session with you in the Western Cape.
Earlier this week, I tabled the Western Cape Government’s 2020 Budget in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
This budget reflected our commitment to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.
Which is why in the budget I tabled on Tuesday I announced that we will spend R32.4 billion over the medium term to boost economic growth and create jobs:
• by making it easier to do business;
• by maintaining our infrastructure and building new infrastructure;
• by helping businesses export more of their products and services;
• by creating opportunity for young people through skills development; and
• by making sure we manage our water and energy resources and reduce our waste in the Western Cape.
Growing exports, primarily through trade promotion and the removal of obstacles to exports, is a critical lever in our strategy to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.
That is why, over the medium term, we have allocated:
• R102.1 million over the medium term to establish an Ease of Doing Business Unit, which will focus on eliminating systemic constraints to economic growth, such as visa regimes, port tariffs, trade barriers and planning delays so that we make it easier for you to start a business, or to expand a business, in the Western Cape.
And that is why we have allocated:
• R561.7 million to increase tourism, trade and investment promotion by Wesgro, a significant increase in budget so that more Western Cape products and services are taken to growth markets around the world; so that the full range of tourism experiences available across our province are promoted to domestic and international travellers and event organisers; and so that opportunities are realised for new investment and business expansion across all growth sectors in the Western Cape.
These spending allocations reflect our commitment to creating an enabling environment for the private sector and the markets to grow and drive economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape.
This AfCFTA policy dialogue is an ideal opportunity to build on our ambition to make the Western Cape a key trading region for Africa
We need the business sector’s input so that we can better understand how we can make it easy for you to do business across Africa.
We all have a great deal to gain from the African Continental Free Trade Area, and so I wish you all great networking and many fruitful discussions this morning.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa