Over the past few decades, cities and regions have emerged as competitive units of the global economy. One characteristic of a well-performing regional economy is well-organised and articulate business leadership. There is a clear need for business, in all its forms, to have an amplified voice and play a stronger leadership role in debates and issues that affect the overall economic development of the Western Cape.
In 2014, therefore, the EDP set up a shared regional business leadership platform with the following aims:
- To strengthen the voice of business in the region, in engagements with local, provincial and national government
- To unite business interests around a common agenda
- To demonstrate that business is able to work together, without necessarily being in full agreement on all fronts.
This platform did not duplicate the activities of existing business organisations and associations, or replace their mandates.
At the launch event for the Business Leadership Platform in October 2014 it quickly became clear that this Business Leadership Platform functioned best when it focused on specific issue and areas of concern to both the public and the private sector. The EDP fulfilled the role of establishing a neutral intermediate platform for the communication of these issues, and helped design the processes required to develop solutions to these issues.
Subsequently, the focus moved to developing energy security for the Western Cape, in the light of the ongoing electricity crisis. On 3 March 2015, the EDP utilised the Business Leadership Platform to convene a ‘Business meets Government’ event, in conjunction with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government. For the first time, the senior business leadership of the region met with both local and provincial government to address a regional issue with significant business implications.
For a full report of this meeting, click here.
Following on from this meeting, the EDP convened the Energy Security Leadership Group on 17 June. Attendees included senior leadership from the public and private sector, and the focus of this group was to provide strategic-level oversight of the Western Cape Government’s Energy Security Game-changer programme, and specifically to assist with the communications arising from it.
The next ‘Business meets Government’ event took place on 26 August 2015, and focused on reporting back on the actions agreed to at the March meeting, as well as further initiatives required to improve the regional business climate. For a full report of this meeting, click here.
At the beginning of this year, the EDP performed a strategic audit of its programmes and their impact. In recognition of the imperative, in the existing economic climate, for intensified fiscal discipline and an increased focus on delivery, the EDP then sharpened its focus to a defined number of core programmes.
In examining the Business Leadership Platform, it became clear that the EDP spent a significant part of 2015 with this programme on building consensus between business and government, both provincial and municipal, on a range of topics. This work then provided the foundation for the EDP to move away from this more generic convening role and to focus on providing specific partnering solutions for regional issues or defined geographies only. The EDP is therefore no longer be convening or managing the Business Leadership Platform,