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Invest Durban drives city recovery plan

With the South African & global economy showing early signs of some recovery following 2020’s devastating economic slump, eThekwini Metro’s Team at Invest Durban has ramped up their vigorous drive to improve Durban’s positioning as one of Africa’s prime business destinations and to improve Investor confidence in the City. This being an addition to the “Buy Local – Invest Local” myriad support being given to Durban’s existing businesses.

Durban enjoys many investment opportunities, and via eThekwini’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Economic Development & Planning Cluster has doubled down on their efforts to engage and support business in the City, across South Africa, and across the world.

Commenting on Invest Durban‘s expanded investment marketing initiative, most recently at the main airports, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda, said: “As one of the major Metropolitan Cities in South Africa, we knew we had to react quickly, decisively, and impactfully to support our businesses, the economy, and our people. Over one year into this pandemic, I am proud to confirm we have been doing just that. I therefore applaud all efforts by my teams, and those in Business plus Community structures whom have all pulled together to make the differences we now see.”

The thrust of Invest Durban in this particular Campaign is to improve Investor confidence in the City, position the City as a pro-active business destination; one with a great work-life balance, plus access to a host of identified catalytic projects across multiple sectors, in turn leading to additional prospects regarding the expansion of formal industrial clusters and the development of value chains, from the townships to the “high streets”.

Invest Durban is a Unit within that Cluster of the eThekwini Municipality, and works in partnership between the public & private sectors to stimulate, plus facilitate investment within the Durban metropolis. It is geared to delivering world-class investor support services, inclusive of investment promotion and marketing, foreign investment identification, attraction and facilitation, existing investment after-care and expansion, plus investment advocacy to improve the business environment.

eThekwini Municipality Mayor further commented that Durban has been working hard on a number of large-scale projects which have the potential to make a significant regional impact. “Our catalytic projects have been selected and accelerated for their scale in terms of employment creation, investment value and potential for revenue generation,” He cited the Point Waterfront as a catalytic project example, indicating that projections point to a potential investment value at R40 billion and the number of permanent employment opportunities to be created as some 6 750.

“This is an ambitious plan, with development to date linking the city’s beach promenade and Durban harbour. The 55ha site – which has already attracted significant investment – offers a property use mix of office space, retail shops, residential dwellings and leisure options and is located immediately adjacent to the development of a new cruise line terminal in the harbour, backing onto the Waterfront, dovetailing well with the Waterfront precinct,”

Mayor Kaunda further stressed that work was being undertaken to optimise the growth and operations of not just particular economic sectors and catalytic projects, but also in key nodes such as CBD urban renewal & building upgrades, Tourism attractions and events, Beachfront maintenance, and Township nodal upgrades. These were confirmed to be done according to a sustainable Town Planning & environmental Framework package of approved Plans.

As the economy begins to reopen, Invest Durban’s goal is to robustly bring new levels of investment to Durban from across South Africa and the world. As Durban’s “First Stop Shop”, they are ideally positioned to introduce, support & facilitate investment into the City and its surrounds. Invest Durban collaborates closely with fellow eThekwini Units & other like-minded organisations, such as the Dept. of Trade & Industry – including Invest SA, TIKZN, the various Chamber of Commerce, the KZN Growth Coalition and several State-owned enterprises, such as Dube TradePort, Transnet, and others.

Mayor Kaunda further confirmed, “collectively, we have one single-minded mission, which is to put Durban, KwaZulu-Natal firmly on the national and international investment agendas, and to vigorously promote our region & her projects as premium investment destinations; ripe with opportunity,”

Other flagship projects include the GO!Durban Transport Oriented Development system, a great enabler of transport and trade. This includes the CBD’s Centrum Precinct, which aims to expand business in the node between the Durban International Convention Centre, a related hotel, library, Council Chambers and the re-development of nearby Gugu Dlamini Park. Further major investment opportunities vest in the massive 1 300ha Cornubia mixed use development north of Durban, a partnership between Tongaat Hulett Developments and various spheres of Government. On Cornubia’s northern border there is also the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, a large scale multi-modal business platform adjacent to King Shaka International Airport and in the heart of an emergent aerotropolis.

Underpinning these property investments, there is further co-operation between the public and private sectors via formalised development of industrial cluster initiatives, and township business support. These all aim to draw together experience and expertise from commerce and industry, Community and Labour organisations, Government and Academia.

Exciting new opportunities may be found within these innovative business and investment approaches. Current industrial cluster programmes include the KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster, Durban Automotive Cluster, Durban Chemical Cluster, eThekwini Maritime Cluster, KZN Furniture Incubator, plus the expanding Agri-Business development programme.

eThekwini’s Mayor has observed, “the wealth of KwaZulu-Natal is often consumed or exported in its raw or intermediate state. However, much more could be done to add value through further localised investment and processing. That is what our various industrial and project partnerships are focusing on,” he said. Durban’s priority investment sectors include automotive and allied industries, logistics and logistics management, ICT and BPS, agri-processing, life sciences – inclusive of pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing and health facilities, as well as further tourism asset development.

eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda confirmed: “The prospects for investment in these priority sectors is truly vast and encompasses tourism business opportunities and, crucially, the emergent oceans’ economy as well. In essence, Durban – with its strategic coastal location, excellent climate, ample land availability, the busiest seaport in Southern Africa and an enviable life-style – is an exceptional travel, trade and investment destination. A destination we are taking to the rest of South Africa, Africa and the world, via this new airport marketing campaign.”

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