Ploumen opens design expo in Cape Town

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, has opened the 'Department of Design' expo in Cape Town. This 3-week business event is the highlight of the Dutch contribution to Cape Town World Design Capital 2014. 45 Dutch businesses are taking part in a 'new-style pavilion' featuring matchmaking, workshops, lectures and networking events.

In the margins of the event, Ms Ploumen spoke to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the South African Minister for Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, among others. 'There is a wonderful mix here of policymakers, entrepreneurs, scientists and politicians. All of them are looking for solutions to urbanisation issues, under the motto "Live Design, Transform Life". Cape Town is still dealing with the legacy of apartheid, which has made the city very fragmented. There are huge problems, particularly in the slum areas. By sharing knowledge and expertise and bringing stakeholders together, Department of Design aims to address these challenges and improve residents' lives,' the minister said.

Department of Design is an initiative of the Dutch Consulate-General in Cape Town and was conceived by Droog, a Dutch design agency. Cape Town's selection as World Design Capital has focused attention on design as a driver of innovation and solutions for social problems in South Africa. The focus is on water, health, energy, nutrition and urban development. 'Dutch companies in these sectors have a lot of experience of innovation, working in a triangular partnership between government, knowledge institutions and the business sector. This makes them excellently equipped to contribute to sustainable urban development here, too,' Ms Ploumen said.