It is universally recognised that the Western Cape needs a strong economic / business narrative. In an increasingly competitive and mobile global environment, a coherent narrative that is shared by all key economic actors is essential. It also forms a core part of balanced and integrated regional economic development – one of the original key deliverables of the EDP.
Currently, the Western Cape has a relatively weak economic identity, as indicated in all prominent global indices that measure city or regional economic performance. Greg Clark, one of the foremost global experts in city and regional economic development, has completed a number of surveys examining Cape Town’s performance in international city indexes, benchmarks and rankings.
Clearly, given the large number of organisations, both in the public and the private sector, that play a role in ‘telling the economic story’ of the Western Cape , partnerships are key to any effort to co-ordinate this narrative. The EDP therefore worked with a broad range of stakeholders to develop of matrix of shared messages, to help ensure that any marketing of the region contained common themes and information.
Some of the partners in developing this story include:
- The Western Cape Government
- The City of Cape Town
- Other key / larger regional municipalities, such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and George
- The Cape Town International Convention Centre
- Cape Town Tourism
- The Cape Town Partnership and Greater Tygerberg Partnership
- The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Accelerate Cape Town
- 12 Special Purpose Vehicles/ Sector Development Agencies
- The Airports Company of South Africa
- The Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC)
- The four regional universities
- The UCT Graduate School of Business
- The University of Stellenbosch Business School
- The Economies of Regions Learning Network (ERLN)
- Brand South Africa
- Cape Town Design (the host organisation for World Design Capital 2014)
The EDP’s role in developing this ‘regional economic narrative’ was:
- To facilitate the design of the shared economic brand vision and narrative
- To provide support for the partners in this process by providing a platform for all the elements of this narrative – data, presentations, research, etc.
At the beginning of 2016, 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.
The EDP has therefore shifted its focus from the more general area of convening networks, to providing specific partnering solutions for regional issues or defined geographies only.
What this has meant for the Regional Communicators’ Forum is that the EDP will no longer be managing the Forum or its meetings, or maintaining its “virtual back room”.