Cape Town is open for business – De Lille

For a region that has very little mining activity Cape Town has become rather fond of the Mining Indaba.

This is understandable, as over its 20-year existence, the event aimed at generating interest in the African mining sector has grown into the world’s largest mining conference, resulting in it making a notable contribution to the City’s economy. The Indaba has generated R485-million in revenue and creating 3750 direct and indirect jobs between 2006 and 2013 for the local economy.

Cape Town is adept at hosting large businesses conferences – it also hosts the annual Design Indaba and Africa Com events – but with 7800 delegates attending from 110 countries, the Mining Indaba is clearly one of the marquee business events for the City.

“It remains one of our signature annual conferences, directly bringing in revenue and trade and indirectly creating goodwill and new partnerships,” said Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille, opening this year’s Mining Indaba.

Though the City has benefitted from hosting the Indaba over the past 20 years, it now wants to deepen its ties to the mining sector beyond the few days in which the conference takes place.
During her speech, De Lille pitched the city as a possible base for foreign companies looking to set up shop on the continent.

She argued that while there were “extremely limited mining activities” in the region, the city was still well placed to serve their needs because it had “sophisticated tertiary services, reliable infrastructure and advanced commercial and banking practices”.

De Lille showed how serious she was about having the 2100 companies represented at the conference moving to the Cape by giving out her e-mail address – mayor.mayor@capetown.gov.za – and asked those interested to contact her directly about a possible move.

Getting groups aligned to the mining industry to move to the Mother City is not that farfetched considering how the region has made strides in deepening its ties to the rest of continent over the past few years. The Western Cape’s trade promotion industry, Wesgro, said, for instance, the region’s trade with the rest of Africa was R51.4-billion in 2012.

Businesses in the Western Cape have also backed 55 cross-border projects totalling R10.9-billion between January 2003 and May 2013.