An effective partnership between citizens, business & government

 This is the first in a series of views on the establishment of the Western Cape’s recently-announced Economic Development Partnership.

The Western Cape Government’s number one goal is to create the opportunities for businesses and citizens to grow the economy. We want to create a Western Cape that is a better place to invest and make a profit, to do business, get a job and earn a living, for everyone.

This is a goal we cannot achieve on our own.

It is with this understanding in mind that two years ago, I proposed the formation of an institution that would bring together all actors in the economy in order to build effective partnerships between citizens, business and government.

Following an intensive study of the best Economic Development agencies in the world, and work on a model to suit our region, the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) was consequently launched on 26 April 2012 as an independent, membership-based not-for-profit company to lead, co-ordinate and drive the Western Cape economic delivery system.

Thus far, 60 organisations have expressed their interest in joining the EDP, including sector promotion bodies and economic development agencies from across the province.

The EDP will provide a new way of working together to deliver better outcomes.

In its first year, the EDP will focus on:

  • Formulating a co-constructed, strategically coherent plan for the Western Cape economy that includes an analysis of our risks and opportunities;
  • Building effective partnerships between citizens, business and government;
  • Co-ordinating a strategy towards contested markets and building a strong economic and business brand through an integrated platform;
  • Continuously monitoring the performance of the economic delivery system and make recommendations for service delivery improvements; and
  • Co-ordination of a regional market attraction, retention and expansion strategy

Let me take the opportunity to clarify the role of the EDP, its structure and its membership.

The EDP will not be driven by the Western Cape Government and it is not a government institution.

In a letter to the Cape Times, EDP convenor, Andrew Boraine, explained that the EDP is a voluntary, independent, non-partisan organisation that will focus on building effective partnerships for inclusive growth.

Membership is open to all organisations that constitute the Western Cape economic delivery system, drawn from twelve categories of potential members. These include government and government agencies, local authorities, industry associations and sector development agencies, knowledge-based institutions, training and skills development organisations, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and social movements, local economic development partnerships, business associations, trade unions and professional associations.

There is one class of membership; all members will therefore have equal status. There is no special position for government, or business, or funders.

The Western Cape Government does not even have a guaranteed seat on the Board. Like all potential members of the EDP, we have submitted an expression on interest form to join the EDP, and look forward to working with this body in years to come toward achieving our primary goal of growing our economy and creating jobs.

In the months to come, the board and CEO of the EDP will be appointed.

I am confident the EDP will deliver on its objectives for the benefit of the people of our Province.

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