UK and Africa Renew Partnership as Theresa May meets with President

Event Africa Contributor 28/08/2018 Movers and Shakers

Wesgro extends a warm welcome to UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, as she touches down in Cape Town today.

Given the important trade, tourism and investment relationship between South Africa and the UK, which is equally strong in the Western Cape, we hope that this is a fruitful visit.

Accompanied by a multisector business delegation consisting of 29 UK  businesses – May will be meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa today to discuss a “renewed partnership” between the UK and Africa, following which she is expected to deliver a keynote address at an Investment Summit followed by an  Investment Forum.

The high profile delegation accompanying May consists of investors who have already invested in South Africa and are interested in further investment,  as well as first timers looking for investment and trade opportunities.

Spearheading strategic partnerships post-Brexit, the Western Cape Government in partnership with Wesgro led an outward mission to London in May last year to better understand and uncover opportunities for improved trade, investment and tourism between the Western Cape and the UK post-Brexit.

In addition to this, the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) and Wesgro signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed to enhance the trade and investment relationship between the United Kingdom and the Western Cape, and secure positive commercial outcomes. Integral to the MOU is the UK’s involvement in Wesgro’s Consultative Forum, which will work with UK companies to identify and address barriers to doing business in the Western Cape.

The United Kingdom is the Western Cape’s second largest export destination, with exports reaching over ZAR9bn in 2017. The UK ranked as the Western Cape’s 8th largest source market, with up to R5.8bn of products imported into the local market last year. Top exports include wine – South  Africa’s largest export market for packaged wine, grapes and citrus fruit.

Due to the growth of the UK Muslim population, opportunities have been identified to extend the Western Cape’s footprint in Halal food and beverage exports. It is to this end that Wesgro will be taking 10 Western Cape companies to market in September to exhibit at the Speciality and Fine  Foods Fair in London.

In terms of investment, it was recorded that between January 2003 and June 2016 a total of  82 Foreign Direct Investment projects were recorded from the UK to the Western  Cape amounting to USD1.31bn creating a total of 5,711. The UK also remains the  Cape’s largest tourism market, despite the 10% decrease experienced between 2016 and 2017.

Executive Mayor, Patricia de  Lille, said: “The UK is an important partner to Cape Town and its residents. As we welcome Prime Minister May to our shores, each year Capetonians welcome thousands of British tourists to Cape Town who create much-needed jobs. UK companies’ strong investment in Cape Town shows we are two nations with strong ties and the City of Cape Town looks forward to strengthening these ties – be they cultural or economic. Cape Town is also partnering with UK cities, through C40, to address key global challenges like climate change.”

Minister of Economic  Opportunities Alan Winde commented: “The  Western Cape and the UK already have a strong trade partnership, but we hope that through Prime Minister May’s engagements in South Africa and in our province, we will be able to identify mutual opportunities for growth. We also  welcome the businesses and investors who have accompanied the Prime Minister on  this visit, and look forward to engaging with them about ways in which the  Western Cape can best serve them as an investment destination.”

Wesgro CEO Tim Harris commented: “We are honoured to have Prime Minister May visit South Africa. For our part, we will continue to forge strong tourism, trade and investment bilateral relations with the UK, that are  beneficial for both our province and country.”