Dr iven by t he vision of a “prosperous province with a healthy, secure and skilled population, acting as a gateway to Africa and the world”, the theme in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is economic growth and development. It is a theme mostly coming through loud and clear.
The province often plays second fiddle to powerhouse Gauteng and the Western Cape as destination of choice for international visitors. Yet it is second only to Gauteng in terms of percentage contribution to the country’s GDP, contributing on average 15.7%. This amounts to about R78bn annually.
To bolster the province’s economy, several projects contained i n t heir Provincial Growth and Development Strateg y have already been put i n motion. Among t hese are special economic zones to attract investors to the region and meet the country’s 5% GDP growth target for 2020.
Ambitious the province’s vision might be, but impossible it is not. The province is rich in natural assets. It is the country’s leading producer of timber, attracts millions of tourists each year to its miles of scenic coastline that also houses the busy ports of Durban and Richards Bay. Together these two ports handle around 80% of South Africa’s cargo tonnage. On top of this a diverse range of agricultural activit y takes place i n abundance throughout the fertile province.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the catalyst to tangible momentum in growth and development for the province. In preparation for the event, the province constructed the King Shaka International Airport and the Dube TradePort situated on the north coast near the popular tourist areas of Ballito and Umhlanga.
Earmarked by President Jacob Zuma as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the