Wesgro - The Official Tourism, Trade, Investment, Film and Media Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) and the Halal Trade and Marketing Centre (HTMC) to strengthen trade and investment flows between Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
DAFZA is the Middle East’s premium and fastest growing free zone. Benefitting from direct access to the world’s busiest international airport, DAFZA has a fully-fledged business, retail and government centres offering world class facilities for companies to start, operate and expand their businesses. Home to more than 2,000 registered businesses from over 20 sectors and various industries with 19,000 professionals, their members benefit from a business-focused regulatory and tax environment that offers total ownership, full repatriation of earnings and a range of world-class facilities.
This agreement places Wesgro as a key partner for DAFZA on the Africa continent. As part of the partnership, DAFZA will provide incentives for Wesgro members by offering competitive business set-up costs and a one-stop-shop for all business establishment needs, including support with local authorities in Dubai. Furthermore, Wesgro members will also benefit from the access to Scality, a flexible and innovative business setup solution created for empowering the start-ups’ ecosystem. This offers Western Cape start-ups the opportunity to setup subsidiaries to get access UAE and regional markets.
In addition, the Halal Trade and Marketing Centre (HTMC) - a global business development centre focused on the Halal economy opportunities for the industry, has also added Wesgro to its global service partners network, becoming the centre’s first service partner in Africa. Wesgro's strategy is to increase exports into the Middle East, particularly in the Halal foods and beverages space, by supporting the local industry to grow and expand their operations in the Muslim-majority countries. As a first milestone for the activation of the relationship, recently HTMC and Wesgro have carried out their first joint initiative: a successful virtual B2B program with 29 Western-Cape F&B companies and 10 qualified buyers from the UAE.
DAFZA, HTMC and Wesgro will work together to support various industries to promote investment and trade from the UAE and the Western Cape respectively and expand their businesses and export opportunities into the Middle East and North African region.
Amna Lootah, Assistant Director-General of Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, said: “Africa is witnessing significant growth across a range of sectors, and Dubai’s non-oil trade with South Africa has steadily increased over recent years to exceed US$4 billion in 2020. These agreements aim to explore opportunities and ways for cooperation to continue enhancing non-oil trade and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the emirate of Dubai.”
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, welcomed this partnership, stating: “We welcome this partnership between Wesgro, DAFZA and HTMC as it will go a long way in driving investment and growth into the province. The value of the Halal market to the Western Cape economy cannot be underestimated, as it had an estimated economic impact of R291 million between 2017 and 2020, supporting the creation of approximately 236 jobs.”
"Cape Town is a melting pot of colour, cuisine and culture. We pride ourselves in being an inclusive city, where the Muslim culture is part of this city’s social fabric and embedded in our city’s unique character. We have a rich Muslim heritage with the Cape Malay community that makes up a quarter of Cape Town’s population. As a City, we are committed to attracting more Muslim travellers as we are a Halal friendly destination and continue to grow our offerings", said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.
"This partnership will enable our Western Cape exporters and investors to enter the Halal market and launch their operations, while gaining visibility on trends, opportunities, and legislations,” concluded Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander.