The Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tourism, Trade, Investment, Film and Media Promotion Agency for Cape Town, the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) and the Halal Trade and Marketing Centre (HTMC) to strengthen trade and investment flows between Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Wesgro will act as a partner for Dafza on the African continent.
As part of the partnership, Dafza will provide incentives for Wesgro members by offering competitive business set-up costs and a one-stop-shop for all business establishment needs, including support with local authorities in Dubai.
Wesgro members will also benefit from access to Scality, a flexible and innovative business set-up solution created to empower the startup ecosystem. This offers Western Cape startups the opportunity to set up subsidiaries and get access the UAE and regional markets.
Wesgro's strategy is to increase exports into the Middle East, particularly in the Halal foods and beverages space, by supporting the local industry to grow and expand their operations in the Muslim-majority countries.
Wesgro has also been added to HTMC’s global service partners network, becoming the centre’s first service partner in Africa.
As a first milestone for the activation of the relationship, recently HTMC and Wesgro have carried out their first joint initiative – a successful virtual business-to-business programme with 29 Western-Cape food and beverage companies and ten qualified buyers from the UAE.
Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister David Maynier has welcomed the partnership, stating that the value of the Halal market to the Western Cape economy cannot be underestimated as it had an estimated economic impact of R291-million between 2017 and 2020.
“We welcome this partnership between Wesgro, Dafza and HTMC as it will go a long way in driving investment and growth into the province. Dafza, HTMC and Wesgro will work together to support various industries to promote investment and trade from the UAE and the Western Cape, respectively, and expand their businesses and export opportunities into the Middle East and North African region,” he notes.
Dafza assistant director-general Amna Lootah says Africa is witnessing significant growth across a range of sectors, and Dubai’s non-oil trade with South Africa has steadily increased over recent years to exceed $4-billion in 2020.
Wesgro CEO Wrenelle Stander says the partnership will enable Western Cape exporters and investors to enter the Halal market and launch their operations, while gaining visibility on trends, opportunities and legislation.