South Africa’s Wesgro raises $11.5m for ag sector

South Africa’s Western Cape ag sector is set to receive a boost, as the province’s investment promotion agency focuses on agri-processing as a means towards economic growth and job creation.

Wesgro, the agency responsible for tourism, trade and investment promotion in South Africa’s Western Cape province, has secured R150 million ($11.5 million; €10.1 million) in investments for the agribusiness sector in the last four months.

The funds were raised through Wesgro’s Agribusiness Investment Unit, whose core aim is the promotion of economic growth and job creation in the province’s agribusiness sector, the agency said in a statement. Over the last three years, AIU has secured investments totaling R1.56 billion.

“These latest investment numbers highlight the progress of our Project Khulisa growth strategy, through which we have selected agri-processing as a key focus sector for accelerated growth and job creation,” said Alan Winde, Western Cape minister for economic opportunities.

Project Khulisa is an initiative launched by the Western Cape government as part of an effort to achieve economic growth and create jobs. To do so, it has identified tourism, agri-processing, and oil and gas as the key areas of focus to achieve the goals outlined in its five-year strategic plan 2015-2020.

For agribusiness specifically, the sub-sectors Wesgro has been and will continue to focus on include food processing, beverages, aquaculture, agriculture, horticulture, aromatics and essential oils.

“Over the next few months, the AIU is planning to raise the profile of the Western Cape as an agribusiness investment destination through undertaking outward investment promotion missions to China, the United States, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom,” Wesgro’s chief business officer Yaw Peprah said. “The unit also expects to host a range of inbound investor delegations from across the globe,” he added.

According to the provincial government, the Western Cape has many high-performing export sectors, accounting for 98 percent of the country’s wine exports, 70.5 percent of citrus exports and 90 percent of other fruits and nuts.