Cape Town and the Western Cape is Africa’s tech capital, and this was reinforced last Thursday (5 November) with the official launch of a new brand to unite the tech ecosystem of Cape Town and the Western Cape and present a common message to the world.

The new brand, which positions Cape Town as “Africa’s Tech Capital”, affirms the Western Cape’s status as leader of the African tech ecosystem thanks to the many tech and digital businesses based primarily in Cape Town and the Stellenbosch region. In addition, it seeks to clearly represent the values, skills, talent, innovation and lifestyle offered by the tech ecosystem of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

More specifically, the tech ecosystem in the province offers:

    • A diverse community of companies across the technology supply chain
    • A strong presence of supporting institutions that provide for ease of business
    • Over 22 active incubators and accelerators in the region which play a vital role in providing business and tech support, mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as links to markets and funders
    • More than 25 co-working spaces where innovation and creativity are fostered
    • A skilled workforce, affordable operational and residential costs, excellent IT infrastructure, and a great lifestyle
    • Four leading higher education institutions, namely the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the University of the Western Cape, as well as six Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVETs) colleges in the province that contribute to the skills base.

The tech sector has also played an important role in helping businesses pivot and adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many rapidly transitioning to new ways of working and a significant amount of the workforce working from home. This has resulted in a rapid adoption of digital technologies which only strengthens our offering to international investors.

The digital economy is one of the Western Cape’s competitive advantages, attracting investment into the province, growing our outward trade through the export of our digital products and capabilities, enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of local companies through the uptake and adoption of digital technologies, and also providing tech career opportunities among young people.

Revealing the new brand logo to attendees at the launch event today, Premier Alan Winde said: “We are excited to proudly declare Cape Town and the Western Cape as “Africa’s Tech Capital”. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us just how important this new digital economy is and it bodes well for our province’s recovery plan that we are the leading in this space. I want to thank our Department of Economic Development and Tourism for their hard-work on this pioneering project. And I also want to thank all those innovative start-ups for your role in developing our amazing tech ecosystem.”

The initiative started with the Digital Economy unit at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, however the final product launched today is as a result of the hard work and collaboration between the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, Wesgro, and major tech eco-system enablers including: CiTi, Silicon Cape, LaunchLab and Startupbootcamp.

Welcoming the launch of the new brand positioning, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said, “The launch of this new brand couldn’t happen at a better time as we re-open our economy and begin rebuilding so we can save jobs in the Western Cape. Key to our economic recovery are the partnerships between government and the private sector. And this new brand, which is a confidence boost to the sector, is a great example of a successful partnership between government and the private sector.”

The Western Cape Government is inviting everyone within the Western Cape to be part of building the profile of Cape Town as Africa’s Tech Capital – register here to receive the logo and brand assets.

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, added, “With an internet take up of 63% and with one of the largest open-access fibre networks in Africa, Cape Town is home to the vast majority (almost 60%) of South Africa’s start-ups. The City-funded Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is Africa’s oldest tech incubator and has turned out more than 2,000 businesses and supported more than 3,000 entrepreneurs since its inception in 1999. In response to this growing industry, the City of Cape Town is continuing to invest in IT infrastructure, and to date, the City has installed 848km of fibre-optic cable. As a City, we will continue to support and invest in high growth sectors that will create jobs for our residents. This is a caring city, but more so, Cape Town is an opportunity city and we are open for business.”

Concluding the launch event, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said, “We need to affirm our status as leader of the African tech ecosystem, and declare this on the international stage. We have the overwhelming evidence that Cape Town is Africa’s leading tech capital. Now, we need to jointly tell the world!”

Nick Bradshaw, CEO of AI Media Group and co-founder of AI Expo Africa, welcomed the launch of the brand saying it was important for the tech community in the Western Cape and Cape Town to rally together to assert the region’s role as leaders in the African tech sector.

“As we move into the new year, we hope this new brand will convince more startups and major tech corporations to set-up shop in the region. It’s no accident that the continent’s leading tech conferences and innovation shows are held in Cape Town. We believe that Cape Town and its surrounds will in the coming years be increasingly recognised as a place that embraces innovation, enterprise and above all will be seen as a driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in South Africa and the rest of the continent. We are excited to be part of this brand,” he concluded.