MEC Alan Winde: Welcome address at launch of French Tech Labs

Multi-million rand investment into Western Cape tech's sector

It is my pleasure to be here tonight for the launch of French Tech Labs in Cape Town. This is a very exciting milestone for innovation in our region.

In the Western Cape, our number one goal is the creation of opportunities for jobs and economic growth.

To achieve this, we launched a focused growth strategy, called Project Khulisa. Through Project Khulisa, we developed action plans for high-potential sectors, including tourism.

In tourism we have made headway, together with our partners, in our drive to increase the number of people who visit the Western Cape. We decided to prioritise air access and we are pleased with the significant impact this decision has made in boosting arrivals to our province.

Forward bookings for our upcoming summer season from the airlines reveal that bookings from strategic markets are on the rise. This includes a 20% year-on-year increase from France.

Further, in the past year, we have managed to secure nine new direct flights into the region, which translates to 400 000 extra two way seats coming directly to Cape Town.

Apart from a focus on specific sectors, we have prioritised reducing red tape. This is because we know that to attract investment and to support entrepreneurs to thrive, we have to create an enabling environment for all businesses.

This environment needs to stimulate the ecosystem taking shape here at the southern tip of Africa. Our region is a home to a pool of talented entrepreneurs who are developing solutions for the world. Through platforms such as the Bandwidth Barn, the Barn Khayelitsha and the Design Innovation Seed Fund, which we co-fund, innovators are taking their ideas to new levels.

Information Communication and Technology (ICT) is also delivering a skills boost for young people and growing our reputation as a place to design solutions for Africa. French Tech Labs is a very exciting investment for our region, and I am confident this facility is going to provide a powerful platform for the development of tech and innovation.

The French ICT sector is among the largest in Europe. Through the French Tech Lab, our entrepreneurs will now to able to tap into this world-class expertise.

In this way, this initiative will allow South African and French tech start-ups to access key networks to develop their ideas.

I'd like to thank Methys for their continued business confidence in our region. You have a proven track record of setting up successful start-up ventures here. On behalf of the Western Cape Government, I would like to commend you for your commitment to accelerating our tech sector, and your contribution to driving jobs and growth.

Source:Government of South Africa.