Successful trade partnership agreement between the Western Cape and Bourgogne Franche Comté region renewed
The Western Cape and the Bourgogne Franche Comté region of France, have extended their highly successful partnership by renewing their agreement to co-operate in the areas of agriculture, tourism and the economy, for another five year period.
The agreement between the two regions has been in place since 2002. Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde travelled to France last week where he and Vice President of the region, Patrick Ayache, signed the new document.
Under the agreement, the two regions have committed to co-operating in the areas of agriculture, agri-processing, viticulture, and to work together to strengthen trade and tourism. The two regions have also committed to ongoing student exchange and educational programmes, and co-operation in the areas of renewable energy and the green economy and innovation.
Minister Winde said "this partnership has been highly successful and we have committed to ensuring that it continues to reap more benefits for both regions going forward".
Under the new agreement, universities from the two regions will also be linked, whereas in the past, the focus had only been on colleges. Representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Stellenbosch University were also present at the signing ceremony.
Minister Winde said "the Borgogne Franche Comté region is very tech-focused and has a well-developed technology industry. These linkages will also be promoted under the new agreement."
Among the programmes implemented between the two regions since the agreement's inception have been an exchange programme offering training in the wine sector. More than 300 people from the Western Cape have undergone the training in Burgundy, while 150 French participants have travelled to South Africa.
In the tourism and hospitality industry, reciprocal training has been taking place since 2014, with the objective of strengthening the capacity of various training institutions. In addition, student exchanges and internships, and in the hospitality industry between the two regions have been developed.
Minister Winde said "Our Project Khulisa goals have been to develop the agri-processing and tourism sectors, to grow the economy and create more jobs. By partnering with the Bourgogne Franche Comte region, we are able to share skills and knowledge in these key areas, and develop skills of an international standard. We look forward to another five successful years in which both regions are able to reap the economic benefits of this relationship".
Minister Winde also used the opportunity to hold a follow-up meeting with the executives of Joon Air. The airline, part of Air France, recently launched direct flights to Cape Town International Airport.
Minister Winde said "Direct flights link economies, tourism and trade and so form an important part of any trade relationship".
Issued by: Western Cape Economic Development and Tourism