In the second of a series of roadshows that seeks to discuss the possibility of developing successful trade and offer a better understanding of investment opportunities within KwaZulu-Natal, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) hosted a Municipal Road Show in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday 26 November 2013.
The interaction between TIKZN and municipalities in the Umgungundlovu District Municipality encouraged discussions regarding problems that business and municipalities faced and how working together with TIKZN could ensure growth in the province.
Speaking at the Municipal Road Show in Pietermaritzburg, Mr Zamo Gwala, CEO of TIKZN, said: "It is always important at events such as this to provide a clear overview of the entity, its role in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and especially its mandate as one of the entities under the Department of Economic Development & Tourism in our province which is tasked with economic development and the creation of jobs and a better life for our people."
The Umgungundlovu District Municipality is the second in the roll out of this campaign that is anticipated to visit every district once every two years. This event created a platform for TIKZN, senior officials of the district and local municipalities to engage with local businesses.
"In partnership with you, our activities will impact on the KZN economy by contributing to inclusive economic growth. We must also ensure that the business environment in Umgungundlovu remains efficient and competitive with a responsive infrastructure network, packaged investment projects and a robust local government that is committed and responsive to creating a platform and encouraging new business and investments," continued Gwala.
Umgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor, Cllr Yusuf Bhamjee, strongly supported the efforts of the TIKZN municipal roadshow, saying that: "This is critical as the event affords us the opportunity to showcase what this district has on offer, and the chance of filling in the gaps that hinders taking our assets to greater heights".
The objective of this Road Show Initiative is to interact with local businesses and the local municipalities in order to eliminate hurdles in export development, manufacturing and other aspects of economic growth by encouraging partnerships with TIKZN and leveraging the organisation's skills set to ensure that this happens.
TIKZN contributes to economic development by promoting KwaZulu-Natal as the premier investment destination and the leader in export trade. For the KZN investment economy to improve, a conducive investment climate, improved intra-regional connectivity, increase value-addition and trade in high-tech tradable goods and skills development are needed. One of TIKZN's objectives is to collate all plausible investment opportunities for coordinated international marketing, which can be achieved through such events.
"Pietermaritzburg and the entire district are strategically located on the prime corridor that provides the links between the Port of Durban and KZN with South Africa's largest market, Gauteng. Our link through Pietermaritzburg to the SADC region cannot be underplayed. Immense opportunities for our products produced in Pietermaritzburg to reach these destinations are important for us to unpack," commented Gwala.
He went on to say: "We also know that Umgungundlovu is on the radar of international investors as is clearly displayed by investors and companies from a wide range of countries such as UK (Illovo Sugar Ltd and Unilever); Netherlands (Incotec); Vietnam (Nam Viet Joint Stock Company (NAVIFICO); United States (Liberty Properties); and, Italy (Piaggio Group). This is not enough and we clearly need to work together in stepping up our game."
Mzwakhe Lubisi, director of Trade & Industry (dti) Incentives, discussed the efforts to increase industrial competitiveness and broaden the participation of enterprises in the economy.
"The dti provides financial support to qualifying companies in various sectors of the economy. Financial support is offered for various economic activities, including manufacturing, business competitiveness, export development and market access, as well as foreign direct investment," said Lusibi.
Alec Hogg of CNBC Africa provided an insightful infrastructural perspective of being located in the Province.
"KwaZulu-Natal is the best positioned province in SA in terms of infrastructural development as identified by the national growth strategy. Infrastructural development will be the key driver of economic growth for the next decade," said Hogg.
Gwala concluded by saying "it is in our interest to encourage industry to remain in our province".