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Partnering with municipalities to support local business

2014-04-01 15:26:00

In the third of a series of road shows that seeks to unlock investment and economic opportunities across the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) hosted a successful business breakfast and public sector workshop at the Protea Hotel, The Richard in Richards Bay recently. The interaction between Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal and Uthungulu District Municipality at the networking breakfast ensured that the shared goals of government to attract investment, develop strategic partnerships and create jobs through KwaZulu-Natal will be achieved.
Speaking at the Municipal Road Show in Uthungulu, Mr Zamo Gwala the CEO of TIKZN said, 'The relationship between TIKZN and municipalities is important. Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal is aware of certain challenges such as property zoning and environmental impact assessments faced by current foreign investors based in KwaZulu-Natal. Our role is to assist the investor through this, but we can't do it alone. We need to work together with municipalities and chambers of business to attract investors and retain them. If KZN can house the headquarters of Unilever, Bell Equipment and Richards Bay Minerals, then this shows that the province is a serious destination for investment.' Cllr ME Mzimela, Speaker, uThungulu District Municipality supported the efforts of TIKZN saying that, 'As uThungulu District Municipality, we are short of investment. This is a rural district with high unemployment and poverty levels. I can assure you that in terms of infrastructure we are ahead in developmental thinking as developmental nodes have been identified already. Agriculture is one of the industries that will create jobs instantaneously. We want to convert subsistence farming to commercial farming but we need assistance in garnering investor interest.' The Uthungulu District Municipality (UDM) is the third in the roll out of this campaign that is anticipated to visit every District once every two years. TIKZN is here to assist entrepreneurs make meaningful contributions to the country. The entity is also working to enhance symbiotic relations with similar investment promotion agencies in the Province. Senior officials of the district and local municipality engaged with local businesses. Mr Pumi Motsoahae, CEO OF the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone also provided support in areas of specialist knowledge on Special Economic Zones. Gary Bell, CEO, Bell Equipment provided an overview of Bell Equipment's operations in UDM. 75% of Bell Equipment products are sold internationally and these are manufactured in Richards Bay. Thulani Ntshangase of Ezimtoti Co-Op also provided an insightful business perspective of being located in the district. Ms Felleng Mahlatsi the TIKZN Economist summed up the current investment climate as still subdued, mainly because of slow global economic recovery. In 2012, the global FDI inflows were an estimated US$1.35 trillion, an -18% decrease from US$1.6 recorded a year earlier. The developed parts of the global economy experienced a higher decline than the developing economies. For the first time in that year, the developing economies attracted more than half of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). These economies also continued to make their mark as strong sources of FDI inflows, not just recipients. South Africa's FDI inflows in the same year were UD$4.57, from US$6/0 in 2011. On the trade front, the value of global trade in goods was an estimated US$17.9 trillion in 2012. Africa's share of this was only 3.5%, while South Africa's was 0.05%. While the situation may look dire, there is a lot developing countries can do to craft a positive path for themselves. This can be in the form of increasing transparency of trade and investment regulations, eliminating unnecessary steps and shortening the processes of doing business in their borders. Small country economies such as Rwanda, and small cities like Hanoi in Vietnam, have adopted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD's) eRegulations system, which helps them do just that. This has earned them the status of being some of the most transformed investment destinations, a title that appeals to investors. South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal and the uThungulu District are all well positioned to take such as stance and elevate themselves as investment destinations of choice, collectively or individually. ends ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Submitted on behalf of Zamo Gwala, CEO at Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal Contact Person: Perusha Govender Position: Communications Officer Tel: 27 31 368 9600 Cell: 083 778 5032 Fax: 086 500 9862


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