The Invest Durban, eThekwini Municipality’s investments promotion unit, is widely regarded as a one-stop shop for businesses looking to invest in Greater Durban.
The enterprise, recommended by Durban City Council and organised businesses, is responsible for the provision of free investor advisory services and the vital promotion and facilitation of sustainable commercial investment in the metropolis.
An organisation geared for business growth, Invest Durban, delivers world-class support services for businesses investing in the region. Its four-point business mandate encompasses investment promotion and marketing, foreign investment identification, attraction and facilitation, foreign direct investment after-care and expansion, and investment advocacy.
It works in tandem with like-minded organisations, such as the National Department of Trade and Industry, inclusive of InvestSA, and Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the KZN Growth Coalition. As well as state-owned enterprises, including Dube TradePort Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Industrial Development Corporation, Airports Company South Africa and others, for the benefit of investment stakeholders.
The thrust of Durban’s investor attraction proposition is three-pronged focusing on:
l Durban as a premium destination, with a business and lifestyle environment boasting plenty of available land and conducive to profitable, sustainable investments.
l Durban’s catalytic projects, which have the potential to shift the socio-economic landscape and trigger a series of multi-sectoral investments.
l Durban’s priority sectors, in which planners focus on the creation of clusters and the development of value chains to promote new ventures and investment opportunities.
Making an impact
Durban is facilitating a number of large-scale projects with the potential to make a significant regional impact. Catalytic projects are deemed to be those located on national trade routes or which have the capacity to overcome the living-working dynamics of the former apartheid regime. Such projects are selected for their scale in terms of investment value and both employment creation and revenue creation potential. They, ideally, include a combination of uses, inclusive of retail, commercial and residential, and should be a fit with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Point Waterfront Development is such a catalytic project. This is an ambitious plan, geared to linking the city’s exceptional beach promenade with the harbour. The potential investment value is estimated at some R40bn ($2.6bn) and the 55 hectares (ha) project is likely to spawn some 6,750 new employment opportunities. The Point Waterfront is a mixed-use development, incorporating offices, retail, residential and leisure facilities.
The Waterfront has already attracted significant investment and the upcoming development of a Durban Cruise Terminal, to be located in the adjacent harbour precinct, will add to the emerging ambience of the area through the optimisation of the port city’s share of the ever-popular global cruise tourism sector.
Additional major Durban projects include:
GO!Durban – A transport-orientated development which has already resulted in major road upgrades and is set to become a great trade enabler.
Centrum Government Precinct – Aims to formalise the relationship between buildings, such as the Durban International Convention Centre, a related hotel, the library, council chambers and re-development of Gugu Dlamini Park.
Cornubia – A 1300ha integrated human settlement development north of the Central Business District, which is a partnership comprising Tongaat Hulett Developments, eThekwini Municipality and the Human Settlement Departments at both National and Provincial Government level.
Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone – Africa’s global manufacturing and air logistics platform, and home to King Shaka International Airport.
Cluster development initiatives
Durban is South Africa’s second most important manufacturing hub and affords the business community a diverse economic landscape.
Cooperation between the public and private sectors has seen the emergence of a number of cluster initiatives, which aim to draw together experience and expertise from commerce and industry, labour organisations, government and academia. Currently active manufacturing clusters include:
- KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster
- Durban Automotive Cluster
- Durban Chemical Cluster
- EThekwini Maritime Cluster
- KZN Furniture Incubator
- Agro-processing Development Programmes
Research is being undertaken and discussions convened to establish how best to grow particular economic sectors and to both develop and grow value chains. Much of KwaZulu-Natal’s wealth is either consumed or exported in its raw state and a need has been identified to do more locally to add value, through processing.
Priority sectors identified include the automotive and allied industries, logistics and logistics management, ICT and business process outsourcing, agri-processing, life sciences – including pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing and health facilities – and tourism asset development.
A number of these initiatives play to the existing strengths of the regional economy, whilst others seek to exploit the recent emphasis on the environment and growing interest in the oceans’ economy. Several link tourism, renewable energy generation, recycling and employment creation.
Several broader programmes also exist – providing positive spin-offs for targeted sectors – inclusive of the drive to increase local content, efforts to boost metal fabrication across sectors, the promotion of Black industrialists, the encouragement of exports and the implementation of the over-arching eThekwini Industrial Development Policy Action Plan.
Enterprises currently active in or looking to operate in these key sectors should contact Invest Durban to learn how they might benefit from such initiatives.