Catch the wave

KwaZulu-Natal gears itself for investment boom


When adopting the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP), KwaZulu-Natal mapped the contours of its economy, taking the cue from the National Development Plan which aims to achieve 6% growth by 2030.

As part of this plan, Vision 2030 pursues radical economic transformation, placing the historically excluded sections of our society at the core of the country and province’s economy. In this regard, the PGDP identifies a number of catalytic initiatives to grow our economy. This includes sectors like manufacturing, mining, petrochemicals, construction, tourism, maritime, telecommunications, renewable energy, transportation, retail and agriculture. These sectors have the potential to unleash considerable business and employment opportunities which will help address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Contributing to the President’s investment drive

In response to the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to mobilize US$100 billion investment locally and internationally over the next five years, KwaZulu-Natal recently announced an impressive basket of investment opportunities. Worth over US$19.1bn, these opportunities across 25 projects have been packaged for potential investors. They cover an array of sectors including agro-processing, film and media, manufacturing, logistics, pharmaceuticals, property development and tourism. Geographically, these projects are spread across various our municipalities such as KwaDukuza, eThekwini, Mandeni, uMuziwabantu and uMhlathuze. This spread demonstrates KwaZulu-Natal’s prudent spatial planning which enables equitable access to economic opportunities covering the urban-rural divide. These projects are expected to generate over 800 000 temporary jobs, and 410 000 permanent opportunities.

Their economic growth is backed by solid plans to grow a diverse range of industries. These include shipbuilding, oil and gas beneficiation, downstream metal and aluminium products, automotive components manufacturing, textiles and clothing. They are also developing wood and furniture, as well as the mining of precious commodities such as titanium and zirconium.

The value addition into these natural resources is also set to create a new manufacturing platform and assist further in job creation. The motor industry remains a steady contributor to the province’s economy. Recent investments and expansions by Toyota have seen the injection of R6.1 billion in the Prospecton plant. Sumitomo Rubber South Africa in Ladysmith, has attracted investment of R970 million towards the modernization of its production facility. This will enable the manufacturing of new model truck and bus tyres, and create 193 additional jobs. This will take the total investment by Sumitomo Rubber to R2 billion since 2014.

Maritime economy

KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with natural splendour, favourable climatic conditions and two highly developed ports in Durban and Richards Bay. Our ports serve as a strategic link to the rest of the world, facilitating over 80% of the country’s seaborne trade. Through Operation Phakisa, KwaZulu-Natal is set to lead in the development of the country’s Oceans Economy by exploring the maritime sector value-chain, including developing the cruise ship industry.

They have reciprocated national sentiment by developing our own Integrated Maritime Industry Strategy, prioritizing the improvement of facilities to tap into the growing international cruise business. A new cruise terminal is scheduled for completion in the next two years, which is part of the estimated R35 billion funding invested in the upgrading of the Durban Point Waterfront. They have thus confirmed the province’s belief in the sector’s potential to increase its contribution to GDP by 2033, whilst generating 1million new jobs.

Aviation economy

They acknowledge the importance of the aviation industry as mover of time-sensitive exports and imports, as well as facilitating convenient business and tourism travel.

With King Shaka International Airport serving as anchor within the Dube Trade Port industrial precinct, they are demonstrating their long-term vision of becoming a global aviation hub, connecting the country to the rest of the region and the world.

The Dube Trade Port Aerotropolis serves as a multimodal logistics platform destined to stimulate growth around the airport with a combination of sectors and subsectors contributing to the industrial transformation to the North. As we speak, there are numerous projects in the commercial sector, light industries, tourism, hospitality and residential complexes which are mushrooming around this special economic zone. Around the Dube Trade Port the province has developed an Aerotropolis Master Plan, making this one of the most exciting investment sites on the African continent.

Richards Bay Corridor

In addition, Richards Bay on the North Coast represents the next axis of industrial growth in the province after Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Investments in different sectors continue to flow in, ranging from light to heavy manufacturing and processing operations.

The North will soon be granted full Special Economic Zone status. This will immediately draw R25billion investment towards the establishment of the gas-to-liquid plant generating over 3000 construction jobs, and 100 for permanent staff. In addition, the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone has succeeded in creating a techno park for information technology related industries.

KwaZulu-Natal is open for business

All over KwaZulu-Natal, new development projects are rising, cranes going up and heavy machines digging down. KwaZulu-Natal is taking its place in the effort to transform our economy and to ensure that it benefits the majority of our people through jobs and business ownership.

For these investment prospects to grow, the province has acknowledged the need to create an appealing and convenient environment for ease of doing business.

This is why they have opened the One Stop Shop facility. Located at Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, the One Stop Shop features diverse government services and departments under one roof, significantly speeding up the processing of business applications and environmental approvals.

KwaZulu-Natal is ready to do business with the world, and to contribute meaningfully to the country’s endeavours to achieve the Vision 2030 while committed to the radical transformation of our economy," says Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala.

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This edition

Issue 2020