The City of Cape Town in partnership with the V&A Waterfront, has launched South Africa’s first and only Ocean Economy-focused Strategic Business Partner (SBP), Blue Cape.
In a statement, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos said this comes after years of planning and weathering a global pandemic storm.
“Since taking over the Enterprise and Investment Department, I set my sights on new and emerging sectors that will transform, broaden and diversify the economic geography of our city. As such, I prioritised SBPs – special purpose municipality-funded vehicles whose function is to drive job creation and skills development in high growth tradable sectors. And so it made sense for me to look towards the seas for such opportunities,” said Vos.
He said Cape Town’s prime position as a trade route was unmatched “only by the boatbuilding skills of our people who can custom build these oceanic wonders with world-class artisanal craftsmanship”.
Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
He said the city remained one of the top catamaran-producing cities in the world, with the Western Cape being the largest marine manufacturing centre within South Africa, generating over R2.3 billion in 2018 in exports revenue (Quantec, 2019), and housing approximately 45% of boat builders.
“Our boatbuilding exports have grown by ±20,5% year-on-year since 2014 and exports 80% of its produced items. This has ultimately attracted a positive trade balance of around US$73m annually,” he said.
Since 2014, the boat building industry, including commercial and ocean sports has secured investments worth over R25 billion and created over 11 000 jobs, Vos said.
“This is why our investment into Blue Cape makes sense. As we are all aware, this industry employs thousands of people, and I am encouraged that with the COVID protocol planned production, we have been able to preserve and even create jobs in this sector,” he said.
He added: “If we continue to refocus our efforts in this way, we will adapt to the post COVID future and navigate the immediate to medium-term seascape until the virus has been brought completely under control.
“Through initiatives such as Blue Cape, we have the potential to make Cape Town the go-to city globally for marine trade.”
Pictures: City of Cape Town