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KwaZulu-Natal economy by sector (% contribution), 2013

Source: TIKZN using Stats SA (2014); contribution: horizontal scale; growth: vertical scale

The second largest provincial economy in the country, KwaZulu-Natal’s gross domestic product per region (GDPR) has grown steadily since 1995, the year provincial economic statistics were first published – with  peak growth of 5.9% recorded in 2007 (before sliding moderately in 2009). The province has consistently grown faster than the national economy since 2000, boasting an estimated real GDPR of R394bn per annum and contributing a solid 16% to the country’s output.

Manufacturing is the stalwart sector of the provincial economy, contributing an impressive average of 16% to the provincial GDPR, and generating an almost proportionate 15% of the provincial employment. The province’s manufacturing sector is also the second largest in the country after Gauteng Province; 22% of South Africa’s manufacturing gross value added (GVA) originates from this province.

Exports of coal, business services, products of the forestry, fruit & sugar industry, manufacturing (chemicals, textiles, paper and paper products), steel and aluminium, tourism, transport and communications are some sectors that contribute a significant share of the Provincial economic activity. 

In addition to the strong manufacturing base, KZN also boasts a strong finance, real estate and business services sector (16%), which is also growing at phenomenal paces, and an enviable trade and tourism sector (14%). In fact, South Africa is listed the most beautiful country in 2015. “What is most interesting to us about this accolade is the fact that the reasoning for South Africa being the "most beautiful status" includes almost all our main Wilderness areas, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the Drakensberg, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, they all get an honorable mention” (Wilderness Leadership School, 2015, in applauding these accolades).

Needless to say, all these wonders of South Africa and the world can only be found in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.

With two of Africa’s busiest and largest seaports – the Port of Durban and the Port of Richard’s Bay – world-class road, rail and air infrastructure in our shores, it is no wonder why the province’s transport and logistics sector makes doing business in the province a dream come true; 21% of South Africa’s transport GVA is contributed by KwaZulu-Natal. Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal is the world’s largest single coal export terminal, while Dube TradePort – home to Africa’s first Greenfield Aerotropolis – offers investors unsurpassed opportunities in economic activities linked to air connectivity.

While mining of coal and aluminium is the dominant mining activity in KwaZulu-Natal, the province’s more 600 kilometres of coastline bears a largely untapped sand mining opportunity, which has a strong linkage to other upstream industries such as the high-value aeronautics and aerospace industry.

Although the smallest contributor to the provincial economy (3.4%), KZN’s agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is the leading contributor to the national output in this sector (a solid 27%), trailed only by the Western Cape. Huge potential lies in farming of crops and livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle. With huge orders for fruit and goat meat from the Far East, KwaZulu-Natal is ready for investments.

For more information on doing business in KZN and about KZN kindly use our Contact form or Enquiry form.


Additional information on KwaZulu-Natal Exports

Examining KZN's economy on a sectoral level, it is evident that manufacturing, transport and business service sectors are key role-players - indicating a growing maturity in the province's economic makeup.

More information on trends relating to exports from KwaZulu-Natal over the last decade can be accessed by downloading the "Trade Trends" document - click here to download documents.