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New District Unit at Wesgro launched at annual Municipal Workshop in Mossel Bay

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Date: 26 July 2019

A new dedicated unit to support tourism, trade, investment and film promotion in municipalities across the Western Cape has been established in Wesgro. 

This news was announced at the annual Municipal Workshop, held in Mossel Bay from 25 to 26 July 2019. The Municipal Workshop is an important opportunity for Mayors, Deputy Mayors and other senior officials to engage with Wesgro and each other on the important task of growing the economy of the province, as we work together to create jobs.

This is the third workshop hosted by Wesgro, and was the largest to date, with over 120 attendees.

“The new District Unit, established with funding from the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism, will have two employees, and will act as a direct link to municipalities across the province, coordinating the service offering of Wesgro. This is a deliberate intervention by Wesgro and the Western Cape Government to ensure that Wesgro’s support is felt across the province,” said Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.

Towfiq Hendriks, who was formerly the portfolio manager in the Agribusiness Investment Unit, will head this unit.

The Municipal Workshop was kicked-off yesterday morning by the Garden Route’s District Mayor Councilor Memory Boosyen, and included several engaging panel discussions.

These included how to be film-ready and cut-red tape for this key sector, a case-study on the ‘Invest in George’’ project run by Wesgro on behalf of George Municipality, and a discussion on the importance of incentive tours, especially from Asia, for boosting tourism in smaller towns across the Western Cape.

During this opening address, Head of Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Solly Fourie, said that the discussion should aim to stimulate the province to embrace its challenges and respond to it in line with our joint commitment to growth and job creation.

“We should make it our goal and objective to prioritise growth in our municipalities and join in the partnership with other spheres of government to improve our competitiveness. We need to grow the skills of our young people to make them globally competitive, incentivize investment in light value add manufacturing and enable our existing SMMEs” said Fourie. 

During the conference, we also welcomed addresses by the Deputy Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Alderman Ian Neilson, and Mayoral Committee Member of Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, who emphasised the importance of the economic relationship between the City, responsible for over 70% of the province’s GDP, and other municipalities across the Western Cape.

On the second day of the conference, delegates engaged on a number of key topics, including the potential impact of Brexit on the trade of the province, the major opportunities that will emerge from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and the remote service offering, through technology, of the InvestSA One Stop Shop in Cape Town.

In closing, the Wesgro team reflected on key action points emanating from the workshop, which have been minuted and feedback to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and other officials will be provided in the coming weeks.

“We look forward to continuing to improve our service offering right across the Western Cape, from Lutzville to Bloukrans, and from Cape Agulhas to Murraysburg. We are investing in these efforts, as we seek to ensure that economic growth and job creation is experienced across our beautiful province,” concluded Harris