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
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.