The Western Cape is stepping up efforts to attract skilled workers, as it aims to position the city of Cape Town and the rest of the province as a remote-working destination.
As part of the campaign Wesgro, the province’s official tourism and investment promotion agency has partnered with relocation experts Day1 to encourage remote workers to move to the area in the short and long term.
“There is an abundance of opportunities in Cape Town and the Western Cape, from the vibrant tech sector and connectivity to the cosmopolitan network of professionals from around the globe, making this the destination for those who want to work, while also living a little,” said Wesgro chief executive Wrenelle Stander.
“Our world-class infrastructure, universities and skill-sets spanning diverse sectors make us the perfect destination for remote workers this summer and beyond,” said the province’s minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
Wesgro noted earlier in November that despite the plethora of challenges faced in the 2020/21 financial year, it achieved an estimated economic impact of over R9.6 billion and created 2,600 direct jobs.
“We will be doubling down and doing everything we can to drive economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape. Looking forward, we will be focusing on five key priorities: ease of doing business, investment and export promotion, enterprise development, skills development and energy resilience. What makes us different is that we are “Open, for Business” and we back business in the Western Cape,” Maynier said.
While the campaign encourages local semigration, the province has also made a concerted push to attract foreign nationals to move and work remotely. In May, the Western Cape provincial government formally requested the introduction of a ‘remote working’ visa for South Africa.
In a letter addressed to both the minister of tourism and the minister of home affairs, Maynier said that the visa would allow international visitors to stay longer and work remotely while travelling in South Africa.
“Globally, many countries are competing to capture the market for the longer-stay tourist who can work online from anywhere in the world while earning and spending foreign currency in the country they are visiting,” he said.
“This is an important market right now, as this type of tourist is more resilient to the challenges that traditional tourism faces given ongoing travel restrictions. Such tourists will also remain an important source of sustainable tourism long after the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In the long term, he said that remote workers are also more likely to invite their family and friends to visit in the future.
In its ‘Pretty Convincing Guide’ Wesgro notes that:
- The Western Cape boasts in excess of 30 co-working spaces.
- Has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 29%.
- Is home to 50% of SA emerging tech companies & 450 – 500 tech firms that employ over 10,000 people.
- Cape Town is often one load-shedding level lower than the rest of the country.
- Cape Town has 1,095 km of fibre optic cable and 1,051 public Wi-Fi access points.
- 56% of VC transactions concluded in South Africa – companies are in Cape Town.
- Cape Town has the highest proportion of VC firms in the country at 50%.