Über-energetic Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, seems to be sweeping out all the cobwebs of the Western Cape marketing agencies, by uniting 18 development and marketing agencies into what is to be called the Western Cape Economic Development Agency, in order to grow the economy and thereby stimulate employment in the province, reports the Cape Argus.

The Minister created controversy a few weeks ago, when he announced that he wanted to amalgamate Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism, the tourism marketing organisations for the Western Cape and Cape Town, respectively.   This announcement met with a storm of protest by Cape Town Tourism in particular, whose Board is not happy to “turn back the clock” and have the wheel re-invented, as this discussion took place six years ago, and led to the formation of Cape Town Routes Unlimited in the first place.  Cape Town Routes Unlimited has not been a success, especially since the City of Cape Town took away its R25 million marketing budget and gave it to Cape Town Tourism instead. The Minister has not included Cape Town Tourism into the list of 18 agencies (yet)!

The 18 Western Cape agencies that are to be united are the following:

*   Cape Town Routes Unlimited:   Western Cape tourism marketing agency

*   Wesgro:   investment agency

*   Cape Craft and Design Institute:   stimulates the development of craft-making

*   Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster:   develops programmes to benefit local clothing textile industry

*   Cape Film Commission:   marketing the Cape as a film destination (filming and post-production)

*   CallingtheCape:   promotes the Cape as a Call-Centre centre

*   Cape Biotech Trust:   promotes growth in biotechnology

*   Cape Information and Technology Initiative: promotes the IT industry

*   Cape Town Boatbuilding and Technology Initiative:   promotes boatbuilding and provides support services to members

*   Cape Music Industry Commission:   promotes growth in local music industy

*   Cape Town Fashion Council:   communication centre for the local fashion industry

*   Performing Arts Network South Africa:  promotes and protects the performing arts

*   Visual Arts Network South Africa:   supports artists

*   Western Cape Furniture Initiative:   promotes furniture industry

*   Western Cape Tooling Initiative:   revitalises the Tool-and-Die Making industry

*   SA Oil and Gas Alliance:  building on opportunities in oil and gas markets in east and west Africa

*   Western Cape Clothing and Textile Service Centre:   assisting small clothing companies to become competitive

*   Learning Cape Initiative Agency:   drives skills development and training.

The Minister announced that the amalgamation is planned to take place over the next four years,  and is geared at countering fragmentation and wastage due to duplication.  The task of the new Economic Development Agency will be to boost growth in the Western Cape economy.   The model for the Minister’s new Agency is the London Development Agency.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com