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Why Cape Town’s economy works – and how it will shine brighter than ever<p>One of the clearest indications of a region's economic well-being is its jobs report. What is the percentage of its working-age population that is actually working? The higher an employment rate, the more a society is able to spend on goods and services (which then goes on to boost further businesses and industries). And the more employed a society is, the less likely it is to suffer the ills of social strife. </p><p>It is through this lens that governments should view their economic development missions. What are we as government leadership doing to create an environment that allows businesses and industries to flourish? Sadly, an easier question to answer in South Africa may be around what has been done to thwart businesses and industries. A failing state has kept the flames burning under a cauldron of inequality, crime, and poverty. </p><p>A different picture in Cape Town</p><p>In Cape Town, however, a somewhat different story is unfolding. According to the latest jobs' report for the last quarter of 2023, Cape Town added over 43 000 new jobs between October and December. In fact, since the beginning of this administration in November 2021, 363 000 new jobs have been made in this metro. A record high of 1 788 million Capetonians now go to work. The employment rate in this municipality has increased by 7,4% year-on-year. And the labour participation rate is 74,5% (on the expanded unemployment definition, which offers the most complete estimate), the highest it has ever been. </p><p>One of the great fortunes of my work is that, in these last two-and-a-half years, I have had the pleasure of going to factories, call centres, and construction sites and shaken hands with some of the 363 000 newly employed Capetonians. What a privilege it is to have been able to hear the stories of people who are able to feed their families a feast for the first time. I've met young people who matriculated with little hope for the future but went through training provided by the City's Special Purpose Vehicle, CapeBPO, and are now rising through the ranks in international-facing call centres. </p><p>Don't get me wrong: Me and my colleagues are very aware that there is still a long road ahead of us and many, many Capetonians for whom prosperity is still but a hope. </p><p>With our draft Economic Growth Directorate budget of R830 million for 2024/ 2025, our mission is to make that prosperity a reality for more of our residents. </p><p>Within the scope of this budget, we are planning to allocate funds towards:</p><ul><li>Support for Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises through mechanisms such as the Business Hub and a suite of training.</li><li>Jobs Connect, the City's flagship workforce development programme which has already helped thousands of people find employment and educational opportunities.</li><li>Tourism and Place-Marketing initiatives to build on the record numbers of travellers that Cape Town recently enjoyed.</li><li>Facilitating Investment Promotion through partnerships with Special Purpose Vehicles and Wesgro. In the last three and a half years, the City's funding partnerships with these organisations have facilitated R25,4 billion in investments.</li><li>Skills Development programmes with our SPVs, leading to internships and permanent placements, and helping to nurture a growing skilled workforce base. These programmes directly created 32 300 jobs in Cape Town in the last three and a half years. </li></ul><p>While it is not up to government to create jobs, I think it's worth repeating what I said before: we must create pro-business conditions that allows entrepreneurs to take that bold leap and set up shop, and let businesses and industries boom.</p><p>This means investing in our communities and cities through the provision of efficient and effective basic services, skills development opportunities, and infrastructure development.</p><p>The City aims to do just that with its R76,4 billion draft budget for 2024/25 which proposes a record infrastructure investment of R12,1 billion and places particular emphasis on growing out the building blocks of our society: energy, water, transport, and safety.</p><p>Through determination, transparency, and collaboration, the City of Cape Town is helping to write a better story for more Capetonians. </p><p> </p><p><strong>End</strong></p><p><br></p>2024-04-03T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#6eff6f50-96ca-400b-9bf7-9cfb21c590b2;L0|#06eff6f50-96ca-400b-9bf7-9cfb21c590b2|Job;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#7eef497d-25f7-422e-98b1-aa9bc9de6515;L0|#07eef497d-25f7-422e-98b1-aa9bc9de6515|Business10

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