The leading digital city on the continent

2019-08-20 06:01

It gives me great joy to see Cape Town being named as Africa’s leading digital city.

We offer a place for innovation with the necessary infrastructure and tools to grow as a tech hub.

This is a reflection of our government’s commitment to creating an environment conducive for job creation, leading to many continuing to see Cape Town as an opportunity city.

The hard work of the City and its partners are highlighted in the 2018 state of Cape Town central city report which is compiled by the Cape Town Central City improvement district (CCID).

Among the successes, Cape Town’s economic centre contributes nearly three-quarters of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Western Cape.

Numerous international businesses have set up shop in Cape Town, with nearly R5 billion in foreign direct investment.

More than half of emerging tech companies in the country are based in the Western Cape, with most being in Cape Town.

CCID chairperson, Rob Kane said: “Cape Town has emerged as Africa’s leading tech hub with the city employing more people in the sector than anywhere else on the African continent.

“To this end, the city, and the CBD, has geared itself to accommodate an emerging digitally savvy population that requires a business environment that offers good broadband connectivity, co-working spaces, accessibility and quality of lifestyle.

“The City Centre has all of these, and as a recognised digital city, the CBD is well placed to support this vibrant new way of working.

“We are thankful for the hard work done by the officials in our enterprise and investment department as well as investment agency, Wesgro and entities like Cape Town Tourism.

“As part of our efforts towards supporting innovation, the City has invested more than R1 billion into the development of a telecommunications network to provide a data connection to various City buildings and locations.”

Kane said the broadband project is a multi-year capital project to build a metro area telecommunications network serving the needs of the City and the residents and businesses of Cape Town, and the construction of various telecommunications infrastructure and systems.

It is expected to be completed next year and has so far connected 300 City-owned buildings with broadband access.

The City’s Connect pilot project, launched in January last year aims to enable the connection of high-speed fibre to 1 000 commercial buildings in the CBD.

With this mission of creating the right conditions for employment, it must be noted that for the 2018/19 financial year, R2.7 billion worth of investment was facilitated by the City’s strategic business partners and special purpose vehicle (SPV) companies that are supported by the City to grow investment, job creation and skills development.

These initiatives created 4 764 jobs and provided skills training to 2 109 individuals during the City’s past financial year (ending in June 2019).

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos says the City’s enterprise and investment department has prioritised support to the tech sector to support enterprise development, mentorships programmes, skills development and training programmes for the ICT industry.

These interventions also help to boost the attractiveness of Cape Town as a tech destination, stemming the loss of professional skills and attracting inward investment, facilitating job creation and prosperity through tech.

With the attractiveness of Cape Town as a business and urban living centre drawing in more people to live and work here, our biggest challenge remains providing housing to an expanding number of residents.

Keeping these successes in mind, we realise that more needs to be done to improve the lives of our residents and help them access opportunity.

Dan Plato, Executive mayor: Cape Town

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