Teaming with Business to drive growth in eThekwini Municipality

Greetings from eThekwini Municipality

In our continuing “deep dive” into the municipality of eThekwini, we met with the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition that is chartered to partner with government to foster job creation and growth in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.  As Andrzef Kiepiela from the Coalition explained, there are many reasons why businesses would want to locate to KwaZulu-Natal.

SCC DUrban DIPA Logo

From the Municipality, we met with Russell Curtis, from the Durban Investment Promotion Agency which is a partnership between the city of Durban and the private business sector. It offers a FREE investor advisory service and acts as a facilitator between businesses and local stakeholders.  He outlined for us, the “Super 7” reasons to do business in eThekwini Municipality:

  1. Award winning Municipality. We have the best run and financially strongest local government on the continent. Awards are bestowed through the likes of the Vuna awards – recognising Durban as being the best-run city in South Africa, with nearly 20 000 employees. International credit rating agencies give us AA+ grade credit ratings off an annual budget of approximately $3Bn US Dollars or R35Bn p.a. Amongst many other business enablers, we have a huge, expanding fibre optic system to also really make Durban THE Smart City of Africa! We are the biggest and busiest City in the province of KwaZulu-Natal; a core BRICS City where partnerships for development, integration and industrialisation begins.
  1. Lifestyle of business, sports and event pleasure together. This is a place to live, work and play. We are blessed with a truly sustainable lifestyle, sporting events and sense of business pleasure. The emphasis for us is on the word ‘together’, it’s the two complementary halves in each of us which is reflected in our City: the business or career half and also the social, sporting and lifestyle-family side.
  1. 3. Largest Human Resources base. At the heart of one of SA’s most populace Provinces (KwaZulu-Natal), we have large pools of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour, plus some of the best and fastest Skills Development taking place amongst our 3,8M cosmopolitan population. For E.g., we have Africa’s 2nd largest direct contact University based in Durban, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with over 45,000 direct contact tertiary students of African, Asian, European & Middle Eastern decent.
  1. Higher growth rates. Our economic growth rates are higher than the country’s average, and that of other major centres, prior to the financial crises, in the region of +/-5%. We’re targeting in that range again, & as a global Port City the tide is in our favour. This impacts positively on Business Confidence Levels, fixed capital formation, etc. As most analysts would observe, “the growth trend is our friend” in Durban.
  1. Infrastructure Leader. We have the continent’s leading infrastructure base. This includes virtual infrastructure like globalised financial services, & our physical infrastructure base. Durban has the best electricity distribution on the continent, a vast roads network, best water treatment & supply base, & telecomm’s via our City owned fibre optic networks. We have reasonable amounts of available vacant land at realistic prices across our 2 300 km2 City. As a BRICS City, we are South Africa’s gateway to the BRICS Grouping. At our infrastructure heart, Durban leads the continent in terms of port infrastructure, with SADC’s busiest harbour, plus the expanded King Shaka International Airport & Aerotropolis.
  1. Tourism Crown. Durban is the largest domestic tourism destination in South Africa with abundant accommodation across all grading’s, plus we have concrete projects in place to become one of the largest international tourism destinations. This is done through an ‘event-led’ tourism drive across both business and pleasure tourism. Our International Convention Centre is rated by global associations as Africa’s best convention centre for the last 11 years. On the leisure front, we have successfully hosted high profile events such as the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup event, with associated infrastructure upgrades (R15Bn+.), the UN COP17 Climate Conference, the International Olympic Committee Awards Conference, BRICS Global Summit, etc. We are presently SA’s sole bid city for the Commonwealth Games, plus 2024 Olympics.
  1. Substantial, & most Sustainable diversified business base already in place across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. It’s a case of functional magnetism with companies benefitting from synergistic location, at scale. Over 65% of the Province’s GGP is produced in Durban, and the Durban Chamber of Commerce is the oldest & largest Metro Chamber nationally. Business is clustered around the manufacturing, tourism, services, ICT, maritime & logistics, plus agri-industries. Having the second largest concentrated business & industrial base in SA provides many options for suppliers, support services, customers, and employees – all important factors of production.

Interested?  Here are Russell’s contact details:

Russell Curtis, eThekwini Municipality, 41 Margaret Mncadi Avenue, 11th Floor, Durban, South Africa, 4001    Tel: +27 31 311 4227

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