Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape has been selected to be a Business Support Organisation (BSO) partner for the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) running from 2017 to 2020.

The programme will enable the agency to enhance the Cape’s exports of agri-processed goods, specifically natural ingredients and processed foods.

Expressing his support of the partnership, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris commented: “Wesgro is excited about the partnership with SIPPO as we believe that the programme will help us to broaden the participation of Western Cape enterprises in export promotion and increase market access into Europe. The trade team’s efforts to become a partner to SIPPO greatly enhance our efforts in sector development in the Western Cape, especially in natural ingredients and processed foods. These sectors have been identified as key divisions for growing the Western Cape’s Halal industry. Ultimately, the capacity of the Trade Unit in export promotion will be greatly improved through the partnership.”

SIPPO is a longstanding, proven initiative and mandate of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The programme is implemented by Swisscontact which is active in the field of international development cooperation, aimed at enabling developing and transitional countries to integrate into global markets.

Connecting exporters and importers

In South Africa, the objective of the new SIPPO mandate is to capacitate and strengthen the competencies of BSOs to better connect export companies with importers in overseas and regional markets. The programme’s intervention areas include support in market intelligence; matchmaking; performance measurement; knowledge transfer and exchange in collaboration with the Import Promotion Desk, Germany; the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, Netherlands and the Import Information Hub in Austria.

The Western Cape government, through Project Khulisa, has identified the agri-processing sector, with particular focus on food and beverages exports, as one of the key priority sectors that will provide the greatest growth and job creation over the next five years.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde added: “Because of the important role that agri-processing plays in the province’s growth and job creation strategy, programmes like the SIPPO programme are of fundamental importance. This programme will allow us to develop our understanding of some key European markets, and grow market share for Western Cape products in these markets.”

Denan Kuni, Head of International Trade and Development added: “Western Cape companies wishing to expand their footprint into Europe should contact Wesgro’s International Trade Unit to participate in the programme.” – Wesgro press release