While Cape Town’s narrow unemployment rate is significantly lower than South Africa’s as a whole, and the broad unemployment rate is the lowest out of all metropolitan municipalities, the hard truth is that a significant portion of Capetonians still remain unemployed. This is worsening over these challenging times. However, Cape Town’s economy has progressively shifted towards a predominantly service-driven one with growth in tertiary sector industries. In fact, it is outpacing national growth in both primary and secondary sector industries over the last decade. Furthermore, the local economy has recently grown even faster as it is not heavily dependent on the mineral sector, which has experienced a recent national downturn too.
Increasing employment opportunities in Cape Town is a crucial component of building resilience to shocks and stresses. While the local economy has outperformed the national economy, it is still inextricably linked to the same international investor sentiment. On a provincial and divisional level, Cape Town is building resilience to the ongoing risks facing the local economy. Impacts of globalisation, climate change, rapid technological change and urbanization are being managed effectively and key opportunities include:
While there are many constraints facing Cape Town and the region’s resources, specifically water and energy, these can also be capitalised upon to create new economic opportunities in the green economy. There are numerous opportunities to facilitate an increase in domestic and foreign investment in the local production and assembly of green products. This also includes the provision of green services, and there are a multitude of resilience dividends in doing so.
Besides creating new jobs and helping to ensure a just transition for workers who may be negatively affected by changes in the future economy, the new products and services produced can contribute to ensuring the ongoing sustainability and cost-competitiveness of local businesses within the green economy. In this line of thinking, the Atlantis SEZ was declared a green technology SEZ in December 2018. Additional initiatives include:
The informal sector is a crucial and frequently overlooked part of Cape Town’s economy. It incorporates a broad range of economic activities and business typologies in a diverse range of geographic locations across the city, with varying intensities of relationships with formal business.
While the informal economy in Cape Town is smaller than in other South African metropolitan areas, and significantly smaller than in large cities elsewhere on the African continent, its contribution to generating income for the most vulnerable households and its impact in terms of poverty reduction are disproportionately large. The City has been taking steps to reduce this load and vulnerability, particularly through initiatives that are:
Rapid technological changes and the increasing application of digital technologies across the workplace and within households, creates new opportunities for societal advancement but also places more challenges on government, this is why the City is:
During the recent drought, the City and businesses collaborated extensively to share information and drive down consumption of water, contributing to the ‘whole-of-society’ approach that ultimately helped to avoid Day Zero. Pivoting off the drought there is an opportunity to formalise these types of partnerships, including:
Contact us today if you’d like to discuss the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Strategy or specifically the initiatives in place for Cape Town job creation.