ECONOMIC BOOST - Stellenbosch ranks third in Africa for biotech! FDI
Stellenbosch ranking third in Africa for biotech FDI - making major economic impact
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, Mayor of Stellenbosch Gesie van Deventer and Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde hosted an engagement with stakeholders from across the Cape Winelands region to discuss opportunities for investment in Stellenbosch this week.
This engagement follows a panel discussion held in Cape Town in June 2017 on the province’s plan to maintain investor confidence in the regional economy following the recent spate of South African credit ratings downgrades.
Towns across the Western Cape have an important role to play in facilitating investment, growing the provincial economy and helping create jobs.
Stellenbosch is a growing economic hub and a region ripe with reasons for investment, particularly in the technology industry:
- Stellenbosch ranks third among all African cities in fDi Intelligence's study of global biotech locations.
- It is at the forefront of satellite technology through aerospace innovation of Sunspace and is a leading centre for innovation in the country, housing a number of key business and new technology development hubs.
- The Cape Winelands has attracted seven FDI projects valued at R2.8 billion as of 2015, and all of these projects were located in the town of Stellenbosch.
- Stellenbosch is an emerging business tourism hub and been ranked in the top ten cities on the African continent for business meetings by the ICCA).
- Stellenbosch Municipality has received consecutive clean audits (2014/15 and 2015/16), offering an investment friendly service, with a commitment to cutting red tape.
- The municipality is centrally located and well integrated into the Cape Town metro economy, and is encircled by towns such as Paarl, Somerset West, Caledon, and Wellington placing it in the middle of a market of over 2 million people.
- As the gateway to the Cape Winelands, and only a 40 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport, Stellenbosch has a booming tourism industry. Based on the research conducted during 2016 by Wesgro, Stellenbosch was the most requested wine route by international visitors.
- Stellenbosch was the only municipality to receive a FDI investment in a research & development project in South Africa.
- The GDP of the greater Cape Winelands, which includes Stellenbosch, grew from R33.3 billion in 2006 to R43.2 billion in 2015. The largest sectors are finance, real estate and business services, contributing R10 billion in 2015.
- According to the QS World Rankings, Stellenbosch is home to the recently ranked second best university on the African continent, Stellenbosch University, contributing towards innovation and business development in the region.
“Stellenbosch ranks third among all African cities in fDi Intelligence's study of global biotech locations and in fact has the highest level of biotech FDI as a percentage of total FDI at 12.5%. This is largely thanks to the $42.6 million investment by Enza Zaden, which created Westcape Biotech Pty through a joint venture with Expressive Research, a biotechnological company that is active in the fields of cell and tissue culture and molecular diagnostics. This project demonstrates the potential that Stellenbosch has for biotechnology activity and has helped place it on the African biotech map,” said fDi Magazine Editor-in-Chief Courtney Fingar.
“Although primarily known for our wine farms and other agricultural facilities, Stellenbosch is a developing African innovation hub and home to a number of start-ups and established businesses in the (bio)tech industry. Over the years we have prioritised the provision of infrastructure and support services that facilitate development and job creation in this sector, and fDi Intelligence biotech ranking is testament to our collective efforts,” said Stellenbosch Mayor Gesie van Deventer.
“One of the keys to creating sustainable economic growth is good, clean governance, which is widely practiced in the Western Cape. Prioritising this, especially in municipalities such as Stellenbosch, has helped develop spaces that invite innovation, empower entrepreneurs and attract much-needed investment. This is underpinned by world-class universities and competitive businesses; it is these partnerships which drive growth and jobs in our region. The Ministry of Economic Opportunities is incredibly proud of Stellenbosch and congratulate it on this tremendous achievement,” added Minister Alan Winde.
"Wesgro has been on a mission to maintain investor confidence in the Cape and the greater South African economy. We have achieved various strategic successes since our engagement in June and have been exited to share these opportunities with towns across the province. They have motivated us and we will continue working with municipalities across the province to attract high levels of investment which grows the economy and creates jobs," concluded Wesgro's CEO Tim Harris.