Wednesday at the Bandwidth Barn, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, was addressing the questions and concerns of French Entrepreneurs and French professionals operating in the Western Cape.
The recent survey of the French Consulate, showed that most French entrepreneurs and CEOs chose the Western Cape for its relative stability and growth, the good state of the infrastructure and its position as a gateway to Africa. However, they feel concerned about the safety issue, the skill penury, and high red tape. Alan Winde intended to answer these concerns by referring to 2 key pillars of the Western Cape policy: the fight against inefficient bureaucracy and the promotion of education orientations that are more in line with the needs of the economy.
Alan Winde said that it is more difficult for the Western Cape province to act on big levers like the legislation and the taxation. For this reason, his policy focuses more on small projects and operational improvement in the administration "that can really become game changers". He referred to the Red Tape to Red Capets programme, that anyone can use to request assistance on a red tape issue (hotline: 0861 888 126 or red email@example.com). As for the need of specific skill sets, Alan Winde reminds the French Entrepreneurs that 1/3 of the province budget is spent in educational programmes. In particular collaboration projects between universities and the private sector or development programmes that target high demand skills (like the artisans and other undervalued professions that represents high risks of skill shortage in the coming decade.
For Alan Winde, the main asset of the Western Cape is its service-driven economy and Europe is a key business partner for the province. French investors that are willing to invest in the Western Cape are welcome to use the assistance of Wesgro which does not only exist to promote the Western Cape abroad but can also help French Investors to set up in the province. Some French South-African partnerships are emerging like the franco-sa season or the recent agri-tech workshop between La Reunion and the Western Cape. The province is open to this type of collaboration and Alan Winde is confident that the many similarities between France and the Western Cape (tourism/ wine/ services) will convey future partnership and cross-investments.
Watch the interview: