Africa’s go-to city

Discover why some of the world’s most successful companies choose Cape Town

Cape Town is a city primed for investment. With a highly skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and stable government, the city is Africa’s most connected and fastest-growing start-up hub, and ranks among the best in the world for lifestyle.

Cape Town’s emerging-city economy is driven by big business, finance and tourism. Property is booming and manufacturing is growing, as is entrepreneurship. The city is attracting thinkers, innovators and design-led entrepreneurs who are helping to build an ecosystem that is strong in many aspects of the knowledge economy. The city is also an African leader in the IT sector, with more tech start-ups here than anywhere else on the continent.

What sets it apart is the City of Cape Town’s commitment to create an enabling environment for businesses to invest and grow. Invest Cape Town demonstrates the City’s desire to establish a platform that will encourage business leaders and entrepreneurs to live, work, study, play and invest in the city.

Invest Cape Town works with international and local entrepreneurs, SMEs and multi-nationals that wish to set up a business in Cape Town. On the ground, the City’s enterprise and investment department collaborates with partners from business formations, investment-promotion agencies and sector-support entities, as well as all spheres of government to encourage economic growth and investment.

Invest Cape Town’s mission is to attract and retain foreign direct investment, which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Cape Town.

James Vos, member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, says the City’s ‘strategy is to create an enabling environment to attract investment that generates economic growth and job creation in Cape Town. Through partnerships, we deliver sector projects, facilitate investment, create jobs and enable skills-development programmes aligned with the City’s strategic priorities’. In the 2018/19 financial year, the City of Cape Town attracted R2.7 billion worth of investment, created 4 764 jobs and provided skills training to 2 109 individuals through its strategic business partners and special purpose vehicle (SPV) companies, funded by the City.

James Vos MMC for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management

The Invest Cape Town team is here to help businesses set up and grow. Through the City’s investment incentives scheme, managed by the investment facilitation unit, the team is able to provide financial and non-financial incentives to boost investment and stimulate economic growth. Initially only accessible to investors establishing in the Atlantis special economic zone, the programme was recently extended to six additional areas across the metro.

In addition to the investment incentives, the City provides a single point of contact for all enterprise-related enquiries through the Business Hub, a new walk-in centre in the Cape Town CBD providing expert support and development opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses. The aim is to make it easier for people to start and operate their enterprises in Cape Town. ‘SMMEs are the lifeblood of cities and the engines that fuel economic growth,’ says Vos. ‘The idea behind the Business Hub was to provide a customer-centred interface, through a single point of access to direct businesses to the appropriate support. It’s all about enabling start-ups and businesses, and connecting them with the right officials in one space,’ he adds.

Cape Town is Africa’s most innovative city. One of the fastest-growing sectors in Cape Town’s economy is business process outsourcing (BPO), with many global call centres and online retailers such as Amazon choosing to conduct their operations from our shores. Cape Town enterprises continue to build advanced analytic capabilities, creating new digital solutions and even providing English-language training applications to other BPO industries in countries including China, Taiwan and Japan.


The Cape Town Air Access initiative is the City’s biggest economic success story. The initiative has helped attract 16 new routes and expand 21 existing routes, stimulating a R6 billion economic boost since 2015.

Cape Town is gaining a reputation as a global centre for business process outsourcing

‘I am proud of my team that supports and guides investors through all the regulatory and legal requirements for setting up their business in Cape Town, identifying land, speeding up building plan approvals and linking investors to a labour pool,’ says Vos.

‘We have a transversal approach in the City to make sure that all departments understand the importance of all sectors and investment, and work together to enhance the ease of doing business in Cape Town,’ he says. ‘As the Mayoral Committee member responsible for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, my main priority is to ensure that we continue to be the go-to city on the African continent and globally for business, trade, and tourism.’

Vos goes on to add that he has focused his directorate on growth. ‘This means that we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to promote investment and, most importantly, facilitate economic growth and job creation,’ he says. ‘It’s vital that we implement strategies and plans that are proven to work. I will continue to build on this success by working with industries and sectors to invest in projects and programmes that drive demand and make business sense.’

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