Creating links across a whole range of sectors, Invest Durban is the catalyst for commercial activity in this famous region
Invest Durban was established at the recommendation of the Durban City Council and the private sector as the “first port of call” to stimulate new investment in the Durban metropolis. The agency acts as a partnership between the Metro City Council and the private business sector, offering a free investor advisory service, plus key promotion, facilitation, and aftercare services between all investment stakeholders. Invest Durban delivers a world-class, metro-based investor support service, encompassing a four-part business mandate: investment promotion and marketing; foreign investment identification, attraction and facilitation; FDI aftercare and expansion, plus investment advocacy. Invest Durban works together with organisations such as the Department of Trade & Industry including Invest SA, Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN), the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the KZN Growth Coalition, and State-Owned Enterprises such as Dube TradePort, the DBSA, IDC, Eskom, ACSA and others.
The thrust of Durban’s proposition to attract investors can be put into three broad categories:
- Premium destination – Promotes a business and lifestyle environment conducive to profitable, sustainable investment opportunities, with good availability of land.
- Catalytic projects – Projects which have the potential to shift the socio-economic landscape and trigger a series of investments across several sectors.
- Priority sectors – Which receive the focus of planners in a variety of ways, including the creation of clusters and the development of value chains to promote new ventures and investment opportunities.
Durban is working on a number of large-scale projects that have the potential to make a regional impact. The location of these projects is vital. They must either be on national trade routes or they should help to break down the old apartheid living/ working dynamics. Projects are selected for their scale in terms of job creation, investment size and potential revenue creation. Ideally, the projects should include a combination of uses (retail, commercial and housing, for example) and they should fit in with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The Point Waterfront Development, for example, fits very well into the category of a catalytic project.
Some projections put the potential investment value at R40bn and the number of permanent jobs to be created at 6,750. It is an ambitious plan that is already linking the city’s beach promenade and the harbour. The Point Waterfront Development offers a property a mix of office space, retail shops, residential dwellings and leisure options. The 55 hectare site has already seen significant investment. A new cruise line terminal in the harbour, backing on to the “Point” will dovetail well with the new atmosphere of the precinct.
Other major projects include:
- GO!Durban Transport Oriented Development – A project which has already received major road upgrades and will be a significant enabler of trade.
- Centrum Government Precinct – Formalises the relationship between buildings such as the International Convention Centre (and extensions) and a related hotel, the library, council chambers and the redevelopment of Gugu Dlamini Park.
- Cornubia integrated human settlement development north of Durban – Covering 1,300 hectares, this is a partnership between Tongaat Hulett Development, the human settlement departments at national and provincial level, and the eThekwini municipality.
- Dube TradePort – A multi-modal facility encompassing the King Shaka International Airport cluster initiatives.
Durban has a highly diverse economic landscape, within which there are large-scale enterprises. Cooperation between the public and private sectors is formalised by the large number of cluster initiatives, which aim to draw together experience and expertise from commerce and industry, labour organisations, government and academia.
Under manufacturing, the following clusters or programmes are active:
- KZN Clothing and Textile Cluster (KZN CTC)
- Durban Automotive Cluster (DAC)
- Durban Chemical Cluster (DCC)
- eThekwini Maritime Cluster (EMC)
- KZN Furniture Incubator
- Agro-processing development programmes
Research aims to find out how best to grow particular economic sectors, and in-depth discussions are held about how to develop and grow value chains. The wealth of KwaZulu-Natal is mostly consumed or exported in its raw state – much more could be done to add value through processing. The priority sectors are:
- Automotive and allied industries
- Logistics and logistics management
- Information & communication technology (ICT) and business process services (BPS)
- Life sciences (incl. Pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, plus health facilities)
- Tourism asset development
Some of these initiatives play to the existing strengths of the regional economy, some seek to exploit newer avenues as in the emphasis on the environment and a growing interest in the oceans’ economy. A variety of projects link tourism, renewable energy generation, recycling and job creation. There are various other, broader programmes which have their own goals, but there will be positive spin-offs for the targeted sectors.
These schemes include the drive to increase local content, boosting metal fabrication across sectors, the promotion of black industrialists, promoting exports and the overarching eThekwini Industrial Development Policy Action Plan. Companies operating in these key sectors are invited to contact Invest Durban and benefit from these initiatives!