Economic Development Partnership (EDP) launched in Cape Town

Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille signs the EDP Expression of Interest Form in front of MEC Alan Winde and event MC, Africa Melane

The Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) launched in Cape Town today (26th April, 2012) at the Cape Town Film Studios. The event was packed to capacity with over 250 people from Western Cape business associations, industry bodies, sector development agencies, municipalities, NGOs, social movements and skills development organisations, as well as the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and several Western Cape Mayors.

The EDP is an independent, non-partisan, membership-based organization that is being established to lead, co-ordinate and drive the economic development system of theWestern Capetowards achieving more inclusive and resilient economic growth. It has been launched as a regional and local response to the countrywide imperative that economic growth is linked to jobs and is sustainable.

The EDP model is influenced by new types of intermediary organisations and cross sector partnerships that have emerged globally in the past few years in response to the scale and complexity of new economic, sustainability and urban transitions. Speaking at the launch, EDP convener, Andrew Boraine said; “Many of our public and private institutions are no longer suited to address the step-change necessary in our economy. We are looking for a new breed of organisation and a new type of collaborative leadership”. Boraine explains further; “The EDP will make a difference to the extent to which it can harness the mandates, power and constituencies of its members and partners, build a culture of collaboration, and find new ways of doing things”.

Boraine cautioned that meaningful change will not occur overnight, “The role of the EDP will be to build effective partnerships for inclusive growth. This will require a commitment to shared values, vision and action, and time. There are many things that can be done right now to accelerate employment creation; however, it will require at least a ten-year commitment to generate sufficient labour-absorbing growth to make a significant difference to poverty, inequality and unemployment. We are asking EDP members to make that commitment”.

Western Cape MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde said that the EDP will add value to the work of all three spheres of government; “The role of government in the economy is to get the basics right – education, infrastructure, health, skills, sound macro and micro economic policies, an enabling regulatory framework, and to make sure that this is done in a ‘whole of government’ way. The EDP will provide a platform for much needed innovation and experimentation. This is why the Western Cape Government has also entrusted the Future Cape 2040 process – a visioning and planning process for the regional economy – to the EDP”.

Currently in a membership drive phase, the EDP already has around 40 key organisations that have formally signed up for membership, including Accelerate Cape Town, Agri Western Cape, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, The City of Cape Town, Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut, WESGRO, Fabcos Western Cape, NAFCOC Western Cape, Western Cape Black Business Unifying Initiative, the Cape Higher Education Consortium, the George Municipality and George Business Chamber, Men at the Side of the Road, Oudtshoorn Business Chamber, Overstrand Municipality, SAPOA, SA Oil & Gas Alliance and Swartland Municipality.

Start-up capital for the consultation, organisational design and establishment phase has been provided by provincial and national government. In the long term, the EDP will be funded by its members. Both the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town, amongst others, have made financial commitments to the EDP.

Says Boraine; “Our stakeholder mapping process has shown that there are approximately 60-70 key stakeholders that drive the regional economic development system. However, to ensure that the EDP is an inclusive process, we have sent membership application forms to over 250 organisations.”

Any organisation that plays a role in theWestern Capeeconomic development system, and that falls into one of the 12 categories of membership, may apply to join the EDP by completing an Expression of Interest for Membership form, which is available at  Members are also invited to participate in the EDP Board nomination process.

Statement issued on behalf of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership by Sascha Polkey, Rabbit in a Hat Communications,April 26 2012

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