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

The Mercury - - BACKGROUND & ANALYSIS - 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.

Lo­gis­tics

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.

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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