Posted On Tuesday, 13 May 2003 02:00 Published by
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Cross licencing with SMEs and co-operation on development of Shuttleworth hub in CBD on the cards.

[Cape Town, 12 May 2003] A high level Irish trade delegation led by Michael Ahern, T.D., Minister for International Trade, Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, has confirmed a new partnership between Enterprise Ireland and Cape-based CITI (Cape Information Technology Initiative). The introduction was facilitated by the Cape Town Partnership. The aim will be to fasttrack the creation of partnerships between Irish software companies and those in CITI’s “Bandwidth Barn” incubator – most of whom are SMEs and one-product companies. Ireland is currently the third largest exporter of software in the world.


The delegation, comprising Irish companies from a number of industry sectors, is being organized by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government’s Trade and Technology development agency. They are visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town to explore opportunities for boosting economic links between Ireland and South Africa.


Enterprise Ireland’s director for Asia, Middle East and Africa, Michael Garvey, said today that co-operation with CITI and the Cape Town Partnership would extend to two main areas:


“In the first instance, we will create partnerships between companies in the Bandwidth Barn and our Software companies. Many of our companies are SMEs and one-product companies, which are similar to those in Cape Town. We believe that by creating partnerships to handle the respective European and African markets, we can encourage cross-licensing and strengthen the offerings of companies in both countries.


“This process will start immediately by sharing information on our companies, by swapping detailed profiles and disseminating them to our clients. At a later stage we can consider bringing missions to either or both destinations.”


The second level of agreement is in the sharing of information with respect to Ireland’s Digital Hub project, on which Cape Town’s emerging Shuttleworth Precinct in the eastern part of Cape Town’s CBD is loosely based. Enterprise Ireland will be supplying information and has suggested that a delegation from Cape Town visit Dublin in the near future to learn from their success.


This project was announced by the Cape Town Partnership last year, and was drawn up in conjunction with CITI and the Cape Technikon’s e-Business Centre in the Faculty of Business Informatics. It aims to create jobs and prosperity through the development of a CBD-based information technology industry.  Employing cluster development theory and practice as a point of theoretical departure, it is intended to revitalise and rehabilitate an area of Cape Town’s CBD that is in need of renewal. The project is designed to address the inequitable distribution of technology and technology employment – that is, the digital divide.


Partnership CEO Michael Farr said he was “delighted that this level of co-operation between similar companies in Ireland and South Africa would be achieved. Ireland’s economic performance and particularly the growth of its IT and telecoms industries is truly a global success story. We are really very pleased that they have shown such a high degree of interest and believe that their experience with the Digital Hub will be enormously useful to the development of the Shuttleworth E-City Precinct.”


Minister Michael Ahern said that the aim of the delegation was to capitalise on the scope that clearly exists for increased trade between South Africa and Ireland. “This mission is the beginning of a campaign to raise awareness on both sides of the potential business to be done.


Ireland and South Africa have excellent economic relations, and a number of prominent Irish companies have made investments in South Africa in recent years, among them Independent Newspapers, Guinness, Athlone Laboratories and Spectra group. Other major Irish companies such as the Irish Dairy Board and Gilbey’s have local representative offices.


“Many Irish companies on this trade mission, especially in the International Services sectors (IT and software), are primarily SMEs who seek local partners to expand operations in South Africa. Irish companies see South Africa as a gateway to the rest of Africa and are keen to explore African markets in line with NEPAD objectives.”


Chairman of Howard Holdings plc, Frank Gormley announced on Friday [09 May] that his company had recently established a separate company, Eurocape Investments Limited, to specifically focus on investment and development opportunities in Cape Town. The company’s newly appointed CEO, Mr Cormac Magennity, will be assigned this responsibility and will be spending his time traveling between Dublin and Cape Town for this purpose.


Mr Gormley said that he had visited Cape Town many times over the past few years and had been very impressed by what he described as a “remarkable turnaround” in the CBD of Cape Town which he said, “offered some stunning opportunities for his company to explore investment opportunities in the leisure, residential and IT sectors of the market”.


Gormley said that the work done by the Cape Town Partnership “has put Cape Town’s CBD in an international league that would result in significant interest from the international investment community”.


“We have had a great deal of experience and success in investing in property developments and redevelopments in the CBDs of cities that have blossomed as a result of urban renewal and we are absolutely committed to doing something in the Cape Town CBD. In this respect, we are also keen to explore the possibilities of joint ventures with local companies who clearly share our confidence in the rapid growth and development of your beautiful city.”


Dublin’s own success story, the rehabilitation and renewal of the Temple Bar district and more specifically, the Digital Hub project, provide good examples for Cape Town on what can be done. The Shuttleworth E-City Precinct is an obvious opportunity for redevelopment in the IT sector.”


CITI Marketing Manager Judith Middleton said: “we look forward to working with Enterprise Ireland in pooling expertise and leveraging off networks for the greater long-term goal of sustainable economic development. South Africa can benefit from working closely with a technologically-driven country such as Ireland and we welcome the opportunity to tap into one of Europe’s most successful technology hubs.” 


IT and Telecommunications products account for over 60% of Irish exports to South Africa (2002 total: €304). These figures are dominated by the exports of multinational companies such as Dell and Intel, based in Ireland. The other main products exported by Ireland to South Africa include Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals and Food products.


Enterprise Ireland expects that a growing number of Irish software companies, particularly those companies producing applications for mobile telecommunications and internet applications, will become active the South African market. Since it seems very clear that South Africa will be the powerhouse for the development of the mobile Telecommunications sector throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Irish companies recognise that partnerships locally will be beneficial to their future prospects in the entire region.




Enid Vickers 021 426 1233 or 083 460 3910



Tamra Veley on 021-426 1233 or 083 251 3658.

Source: Enid Vickers

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