Senzo Mchunu, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, on the province’s contribution to national development

Senzo Mchunu, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal

As one of the most sophisticated African emerging markets, South Africa’s unique combination of highly developed, first-world economic infrastructure and a large emergent market economy has led to a dynamic investment environment. Situated on South Africa’s eastern seaboard is the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is home to Durban and a strategic port that enjoys direct access to both the Indian and Pacific Ocean rims. KZN is one of the key provinces in the national economy in terms of GDP contribution, with an estimated real GDP of approximately R328.9bn ($31.5bn) in 2013, making KZN’s 16.5% contribution to the national economy the second-largest in the country. The province’s economy is driven largely by finance, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, transport and tourism, among other sectors.

The province’s vision is that by 2030 KZN will be prosperous with a healthy and skilled population and will act as a gateway to Africa. In line with the National Development Plan, KZN has developed and adopted the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP). Prioritisation of infrastructure at the national level is consistent with the province’s priorities, which identify strategic infrastructure as a major job driver. Such investment will provide for social and economic growth and development for the people of KZN. We are committed to investing more in infrastructure initiatives that serve as catalysts for creating employment.

We also recently established the KZN Provincial Infrastructure Coordination Workgroup, which has been tasked with developing the KZN Provincial Infrastructure Master Plan. The objective of this master plan is to ensure that strategic infrastructure is developed in order to support the successful implementation of the PGDP. The PGDP contains programmes and projects that have been identified and align with strategic infrastructure interventions for KZN. Examples include the development of harbours, airports, road and rail networks, ICT, water resource management and supply, and the improvement of energy production and supply.

Our infrastructure development, however, must be holistic. As such, we are investing more in social infrastructure, such as education and health care, and we are building transport networks that will facilitate such developments. KZN is an important hub of industrial development for sub-Saharan Africa thanks to its rich natural resources and well-developed infrastructure. Economic activities here are mainly concentrated in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, as well as Richards Bay, Ladysmith, Newcastle and Port Shepstone.

We have identified nine prime targets for inward investment: textiles, clothing, footwear, plastic products, chemicals, fabricated metal products, automotive components, wood and wood products, and machinery and appliances. Investors can also find real opportunities in the primary and processed aluminium sector at world competitive prices from local suppliers. We are inviting potential investors to consider projects such as port expansion and related infrastructure, public transport, renewable energy, beach resort and cruise line development, the KZN Aerotropolis, the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, and logistics and transport, with an emphasis on maritime activities.

Our goal is to establish Southern Africa’s premier logistics platform here in KZN, with the knowledge that, as international competition intensifies, we will require large-scale solutions in order to compete globally. For example, the establishment of the Dube Tradeport has created a business environment conducive to economic growth and development, coupled with status as a special economic zone, re-enforcing the potential of local businesses in identified growth sectors to increase their profile in terms of high-value manufactured goods for export. We fully support the view that job creation and infrastructure development cannot be something the government deals with alone, particularly given the financial constraints it faces. We are going to need a more active private sector, and as the provincial government of KZN we are determined to work together with local and foreign investors to achieve our goals.

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The Report: South Africa 2014

KwaZulu-Natal chapter from The Report: South Africa 2014

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This article is from the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of The Report: South Africa 2014. Explore other chapters from this report.

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