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KwaZulu-Natal strengthens ties with US trade and investment delegation

2018-04-20 11:00:00

Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) successfully hosted a high profiled 15-strong business delegation from Illinois led by US civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson in Sandton on Tuesday, 17 April 2018.

The event hosted by TIKZN Board Chairperson Ina Cronjé and Acting Chief Executive Neville Matjie was an opportunity to promote business and investment in KwaZulu-Natal and show case the TIKZN’s service offering.

The US delegation included corporate companies, financial intermediaries and bankers and international promoters

Outlining the role of TIKZN Matjie said their mandate was to attract foreign direct investment which will build businesses that will aid in creating job opportunities, help curb social ills such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of dignified shelter. “Unemployment prevents people from creating a livelihood for themselves and their families.”

“The purpose of this networking function is to highlight real economic opportunities, our economic strengths and to discover how we can access opportunities that create linkages with the core US market. This is important for us,” said Matjie.

TIKZN Board Chairperson Ina Cronjé underscored event’s importance in creating awareness of projects and investment and trade opportunities.

“The successful marketing and promotion of KwaZulu-Natal through this event, I believe will encourage closer linkages with the United States, through Reverend Jesse Jackson, for companies to take advantage of the opportunities which will lead heightened economic activity which will improve South Africa’s economy,” she said.

Cronjé said it was argued that companies based in emerging markets would play an increasingly prominent role in global and cross border business. Much of this will be due to the  future expansion of trade an investment between developing countries and not between developed and developing countries.

Looking at KZN’s top 15 export markets Cronjé pointed out that the US has accounted for the lion’s share of the exports and had been a top export partner for several years. Japan was KZN’s second most important trade partner focused on the automotive sector. Zambia and Zimbabwe in SADC and Algeria in North Africa were also amongst the top 15. But it was the Southern African Customs Union that was the most important growing exponentially in recent years.

Cronje took the opportunity to highlight the province’s competitive advantages. It was continuously implementing intelligent transport systems; has two major African seaports- Durban and Richards’s bay - complemented by the King Shaka International Airport, Dube Trade Port IDZ with freight handling capabilities and the Richards Bay IDZ; a world class banking system; prime industrial land along the coast and inland. The province had a strong innovative ICT sector which that would ensure KZN could leapfrog stages of development.

There were immense prospects for power generation companies particularly those looking at green technologies to establish themselves in the province, she said.

“The province is positioning itself to take advantage of the opportunities presented by moving toward a green economy.  The growth and development of KZN require that the province becomes more self-sufficient in its electricity production as well as its use of alternative and renewable resources.  â€œIt has some of the highest hydro-electrical potential in SA due to the velocity of water flow in its rivers as well as the Drakensberg escarpment providing the best locality. Wind, solar and biomass generation have also shown potential here and could further be explored,” she said.

Rev Jesse Jackson told the business breakfast that blacks are free but not equal as they were still not economically free in South Africa. “Today we are free but not equal. Today we can vote; today we have a black president, but we are not free economically.”

He said black South Africans would not be equal until they commanded a greater share of the economy.  While separation by race has been destroyed there was now separation by access to resources.

The access to capital remained a huge stumbling block for economic freedom for the majority of the population which needed to leverage its consumer strength to open up the value chains of the private sector, said Jackson.

Issued by Angel Sibisi- Communication Specialist on 031 368 9667 or email
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