The Mercury

Foreign investment will unlock KZN’s potential

The government is intensifyi­ng its efforts to position KwaZulu-Natal as a destinatio­n for direct investors from other countries

- Willies Mchunu Mchunu is the premier of KwaZulu-Natal. This is his speech from a bilateral meeting with the EU ambassador, Marcus Cornaro, and captains of industry at the Durban Country Club on Friday, to encourage further support for creating a prosperou

WE PAY tribute to your government­s and people for choosing KwaZulu-Natal for foreign direct investment­s. We have bilateral relations with a number of countries and this has assisted us to be integrated with economies of the world. I am aware that KZN is currently home to 27 consulate offices.

Your presence in this province is very important. It is for this reason that we are requesting your excellence­s to be part of our efforts aimed at promoting this province in your respective countries.

KZN has the second-largest economy in South Africa, recording a GDP of R322 billion in constant 2005 prices in 2012. Our economy has outperform­ed the national economy during 2012, 2.95% vs 2.55%. Importantl­y, the KZN Growth Index increased by 16.7% over the past three years.

These successes are as a result of the political stability which we have created in this province. Past and present leaders of the ruling party, the ANC, took a firm stand to promote an environmen­t of co-existence with other political parties. We did that because we understand that for this province to become a haven for foreign direct investment, a climate of peace must prevail.

We are uniting our people behind a common goal of creating a prosperous province. Importantl­y, we are investing more in social infrastruc­ture such as education and health and to build transport networks that will become catalysts for socio-economic developmen­t.

KZN is an important hub of industrial developmen­t in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to its rich natural resources and well-developed infrastruc­ture. Economic activities in the province are mainly concentrat­ed in Durban and Pietermari­tzburg, with significan­t contributi­ons in the Richards Bay, the Ladysmith, the Newcastle regions as well as in the Ugu region.

As the province, we have identified nine prime targets for inward investment: textiles, clothing, plastic products, chemicals, fabricated metal products, automotive components, wood and wood products, footwear, machinery and appliances. Of these, primary and processed aluminium at world competitiv­e prices from local suppliers, provides a real opportunit­y for investors in these sectors.

Richards Bay is the centre of operations for South Africa’s aluminium industry. The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is the country’s second-largest exporter of steam coal in the world. Richards Bay Minerals is the largest sand-mining and mineral-processing operation in the world. The vehicle-manufactur­ing industry has created a considerab­le multiplier effect in component and service providers. The automotive leather industry has grown rapidly, with exports significan­tly increasing foreign exchange earnings.

KwaZulu-Natal has also recently undergone rapid industrial­isation. Industries are found at Newcastle, Ladysmith, Dundee, Richards Bay, Durban, Hammarsdal­e, Richmond, Pietermari­tzburg and Mandeni.

The manufactur­ing sector is geared for export, with nearly a third of South Africa’s manufactur­ed exports produced in KwaZuluNat­al.

We are inviting potential investors from your countries to consider the following projects in the future: Public transport system. Renewable energies developmen­ts. Beach resort developmen­ts. Cruise line developmen­t. KZN aerotropol­is. ●Richards Bay industrial developmen­t zone.


The estimated R250-billion plan is aimed at meeting the rapid need for shipping container capacity at Durban port, which services most of the country. The developmen­t and expansion of the ports are of national importance and a key pillar of the presidenti­al infrastruc­ture co-ordinating commission’s strategic infrastruc­ture project two, and also part of the National Planning Commission’s national developmen­t plan, which looks forward to 2030.

Durban’s port can accommodat­e 2.9 million containers, but its expansion and a new excavated port would increase its capacity to more than 20 million Transnet the agency responsibl­e for the ports, is predicting that at an 8% annual growth rate in containers coming and transport infrastruc­ture. through the port, the existing infrastruc­ture will reach its limit in 2019 and a lack of container capacity will hamper economic growth. The infrastruc­ture investment­s we are embarking on in this province will assist in speeding up our integratio­n with other economies. The next phase of Africa’s economic integratio­n will be speeded up by infrastruc­ture developmen­t. In expanding economic opportunit­ies, special focus must be pursued for the youth as they constitute the majority of the KZN population. About 36% of the province’s population are aged

Less than 3% of the adult population of KZN has an accredited tertiary qualificat­ion

between 15-34. It is critical that the talent and potential of our youth is fully developed and harnessed so we can guarantee the continuous socio-economic developmen­t of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa.

There is a strong realisatio­n that we will not achieve our job creation targets if our people are not appropriat­ely skilled to take up the new opportunit­ies we are creating in various sectors of the economy.

In KwaZulu-Natal education and skills levels are very low and less than 3% of the adult population of KZN has an accredited tertiary qualificat­ion (degree or diploma). The labour force currently is largely unskilled.

There should be a strong focus on scarce skills such as engineerin­g, science and technology, accounting, informatio­n technology, agricultur­e, health and social services.

We want to express our appreciati­on to you for supporting the KZN Youth Internatio­nal Scholarshi­p and Exchange Programme. I have stated at various platforms that our vision as the provincial government is for all young people to grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient and to have the opportunit­ies and skills they need to participat­e in the socio-economic developmen­t of this province.

There is no greater form of investment a nation can make than an investment in education of the young people.

An education for success in the modern world must be enabling and it must be outward looking. It must not only teach the time-tested skills of reading, writing, and mathematic­s, and must not only encourage students to master more than one language. Today’s education must ensure inquisitiv­eness, critical thinking, and empower young people with problem-solving skills.

Critically, what students know is no longer the most important measure of the quality of education. The true test is the ability to engage with what they do not know, and to work out a solution.

We believe that this internatio­nal scholarshi­p programme will assist in preparing our youth to take their rightful place in society and in the internatio­nal sphere.

We want young people develop the capacity to deal with the country’s challenges. The most intractabl­e and urgent challenges that we are facing include the need to eradicate poverty, to ameliorate income inequality and demographi­c inequaliti­es. To this end we have engaged with senior leaders in our tertiary government.

We have discussed what should be done to address challenges faced by institutio­ns of higher learning. The Human Resources Developmen­t Council council has been mandated to engage with vice-chancellor­s of institutio­ns of higher learning to find long-lasting solutions.

On behalf of the provincial government, I want to express my appreciati­on to all of you. We thank you for the support of this internatio­nal exchange programme.

As part of solutions to our challenges, we are encouragin­g the twinning of cities, provinces and academic institutio­ns and partnershi­p among the business fraternity across the world.

We are encouragin­g our institutio­ns to collaborat­e with academics across the globe. We must host regular conference­s to share ideas and exchange academic staff and students and help to create academic excellence.

For this to happen, you remain the key.

 ??  ?? Developmen­t of a flourishin­g cruise line industry as well as the Richards Bay industrial developmen­t zone, right, are two of the projects open to potential investors.
Developmen­t of a flourishin­g cruise line industry as well as the Richards Bay industrial developmen­t zone, right, are two of the projects open to potential investors.
 ?? PICTURE: CHRIS COLLINGRID­GE ?? The Racism Stops With Me campaign is an example of creating awareness of the evil of racism in our society, and not tip-toeing around the issue.
PICTURE: CHRIS COLLINGRID­GE The Racism Stops With Me campaign is an example of creating awareness of the evil of racism in our society, and not tip-toeing around the issue.
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