United States Consul General Cape Town
16 March 2022
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, Acting U.S. Consul General Will Stevens, and Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier today marked the one-year anniversary of the Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership between the U.S. Consulate General and the Western Cape Provincial Government.
During this event, the U.S. Consulate General and Western Cape Provincial Government reaffirmed their commitment to shared prosperity and economic opportunities through trade and investment. Since it began, the Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership has deepened bilateral cooperation and coordination to promote and increase bilateral trade and investment through regular planning meetings, engagements, events, and high-level interactions that produce deals and mutually beneficial economic wins. The partnership reflects the United States role as the top foreign direct investor in the Western Cape and supports two-way annual trade valued at approximately 24 billion Rand.
During the first year of the partnership, U.S. companies announced investments in the healthcare sector and vaccine manufacturing and established healthcare industry and public health partnerships with South African companies or universities. The U.S. government has also provided funding and technical expertise to help spur growth in this sector. Bringing together the provincial government, U.S. government, and private sector, we collaborated to deliver vaccines across the province.
U.S. tech companies have grown their presence in the Western Cape while local tech companies have received over 4.9 billion rand in funding from the United States since the partnership was announced. The U.S. private sector also announced investments to increase Wi-Fi speeds and access. Under the partnership, we helped local investment firms to raise funds to promote further investment and supported visits by tech investors to the Western Cape. Beyond tech, U.S. companies have helped grow the film and media sector and provided energy and water products and solutions. We also partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa to encourage greater U.S. investment in the province.
U.S. companies have supported tourism in the province and the United States became the top source market of tourists in South Africa. Contributing to tourism, trade and investment, United Airlines announced that its direct flight between New York and Cape Town would operate year-round beginning in June 2022.
The United States has been a key tourism and business market for the Western Cape, and the biggest source of foreign direct investment for the province. For the first time, in 2021, the United States ranked as the Western Cape’s largest export market, with exports totalling close-on R17 billion. This is 57.5% higher than the 2020 value of R10.8 billion. Western Cape agricultural exports to the United States also continued to grow despite the pandemic. After a record setting 103.5% increase in exports in 2020, citrus exports grew by another 24.5% in 2021. Grape exports to the United States more than doubled from 2020 to 2021.
Since 2018, the value of South African wine exports to the United States has increased by 74.2%. In 2021, wine exports to the United States increased by 41.6% and was valued at just over R925 million. U.S. companies are increasingly looking to source agricultural products from the Western Cape while U.S. investment in the sector is promoting even more growth and opportunities. A recently signed memorandum of understanding between the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture will further strengthen cooperation under the partnership.
Leveraging decades of innovative trade and investment promotion through the Western Cape’s agencies, such as Wesgro, and the services, resources, and expertise of 17 U.S. government agencies, the partnership assisted 41 Western Cape companies to begin exports to the United States. Many of these companies’ products go to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows duty-free exports of more than 6,500 goods from Africa to the United States.
The U.S. government carried out numerous programs to support local entrepreneurs and support job readiness for the province’s youth.
The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “I want to commend the Acting Consul General, Will Stevens, and his team on their consistent promotion of trade and investment with our province over the past year. Today’s exhibitions of companies that have grown as a result of these efforts are a testimony to the partnership’s successes over the past year.
Premier Winde continued: “The United States remains a key trade and investment partner for our province, as demonstrated just last week when we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the State of California, following similar agreements with the State of Florida and Georgia. It is my hope that this relationship with the United States will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
Speaking at the event, Minister Maynier said, “The impressive growth of bilateral trade and investment between our two regions is a testament to the ongoing success of the Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership.
Through our regular engagements we have seen the impact of this partnership in the securing of investments in the health sector, tech sector and the increase in agricultural exports to the US as well as a significant growth in tourism from the United States to the Western Cape.
Clearly, our partnership is having a real impact on the lives of people in each of our countries, which bodes well for our continued relationship and the expansion of trade and investment opportunities between the US and the Western Cape. At the end of the day, this is good news for the Western Cape.”
Acting U.S. Consul General Will Stevens said, “We established the trade and investment promotion partnership on the basis of the strong economic and commercial ties between the United States and the Western Cape. The first year of the partnership has been a resounding success, with huge investment trade wins that highlight the depth and breadth of those ties. The United States looks forward to growing our bilateral trade, which is currently valued at about 24 billion Rand annually and bringing more investment to the province as the top foreign direct investor in the Western Cape.”
“Wesgro, together with our partners, has worked hard to make sure that our region becomes an attractive investment option for U.S. companies seeking to enter the African market. The United States has been our top foreign direct investor for many years, and the year 2021 marks another huge milestone, with the United States becoming the Western Cape’s largest export market. Our exports to the United States totalled close-on R17 billion in 2021, which is 57.5% higher than 2020’s value of R10.8 billion. This is indicative of the fact that our region boasts one of the most pro-business environments on the African continent. It also speaks to the robust trade and investment partnership that the Western Cape and the United States have formed over the years,” commented Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander.
The economic relationship between the United States and the Western Cape is robust and growing. The Western Cape’s diverse and dynamic economy attracts investment from U.S. companies—big and small—and the United States has been the top foreign direct investor in the Western Cape for many years. U.S. companies have invested in the province, have created tens of thousands of jobs, offered training and skills development, and supported local communities through outreach and humanitarian programs in the Western Cape.