Programme Director – Acting HOD – Sihle Mkhize;
Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia - Salman Al Farisi
Honourary Consul General; Ebrahim Patel;
Mr Sihle Ngcamu representing the CEO of Trade & Investment;
CEO of Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ms. Palesa Phili;
All senior managers across all government departments and entities;
Members of the Media;
I want to welcome all of you Excellences to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.
We are honoured to be visited by His Excellency Ambassador … Salman Al Farisi
I have been looking forward to meeting you and to be introduced formally to our new honorary Consul – our friend and a brother Ebrahim Patel.
We appreciate and understand the critical role that you play as representatives of Indonesia - a country with rich history and heritage.
Excellencies, from the onset, I wish to state that we are here this afternoon because of the value we place on the relationship we have with the Indonesia.
We are confident that through the office of the Consul General, we will continue to strengthen socio-economic relations between our two countries.
In particular, it is important to point out that the two countries have similarities that we need to explore to our advantage.
Firstly, Indonesia has the largest population in Southeast Asia and a population of citizens who will remain youthful well into the future.
Here in KZN, approximately 36% of the provinces population are aged between 15-34 years.
Excellences, I want to state that in expanding economic opportunities, special focus must be pursued for the youth as they constitute the majority of our population.
It is critical that the talent and potential of our youth is fully developed and harnessed so that we can guarantee the continuous socio economic development of both Indonesia and South Africa – and KZN in particular.
In this regard, we need to facilitate exchange programmes focusing on the acquisition of knowledge.
With Covid-19 having devastated our economies, we need to focus on scarce skills such as engineering, science and technology, accounting, agriculture and health.
We are focusing on retraining our people in order to ensure that they get absorbed by economies of the future and key sectors of the economy.
I wish to draw your attention to the study commissioned by our entity Trade Investment KZN.
The study which focuses on the pharmaceutical industry indicates that the South African medical device industry comprises mainly agents and distributors of international manufacturers that import products into South Africa.
Domestic manufacturing is small and focused on the production of low-tech and low-value devices such as surgical support supplies and disposable needles.
The South Africa’s importing of medical supplies amounted to R45,6 Billion in 2019. The South African medical equipment industry consists of multinational manufacturers whose products are imported by satellite branches, agents or distributors, local manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
We want to change all of this and ensure that we become a leader in the production of medical equipment.
There are key areas of focus, namely:
1. Production of Medical Products
2. Medical Skills Development/Training
3. Property Development (Lifestyle Estate Living)
4. Medical Tourism
Excellencies - We are extending an invitation to companies in Indonesia to partner with KZN based companies to explore opportunities in this area.
Another important area I need to focus on is the fact that, KZN is an important hub of industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to our rich natural resources and well-developed infrastructure.
Economic activities in the province are mainly concentrated in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with significant activities in Richards Bay, Ladysmith, and Newcastle as well as on the Ugu District.
However, as directed by the new economic recovery and transformation plan, we want remote areas of our province to be an integral part of economic development.
In this regard, we are encouraging potential investors to consider rural parts of our province for investments because of the vast track of land that is underdeveloped. This is the area where there is a potential for partnership facilitated through District Business Agencies located in municipalities.
Broadly speaking, this also forms part of our efforts aimed at dealing decisively with historic under-investment in rural areas by focusing on investments in infrastructure.
We want rural areas to benefit in order to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth. In a long run, the provision of infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity and internet connectivity will make rural areas more attractive to potential foreign direct investment.
When we speak about economic recovery, we want to use our programme on infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and create much needed jobs.
The infrastructure development programme involves road construction, aviation, air-freight, rail, provision of water and sanitation services and electrification.
We have also identified key economic sectors that are better geared to respond to our efforts.
These sectors include amongst others, Agriculture, Clothing and Textile, Automotive, Manufacturing, Maritime, Transport and Logistics, Renewable Energy as well as Tourism.
We are saying small businesses must be assisted to access these sectors of our economy. We are also inviting potential investors to partner with KZN based SMMEs in order to make our dream of creating an inclusive economy a reality.
Your Excellences, my intention is not to give a long speech but our message as KZN government is that we want to work with you.
My role today is to welcome you to this province.
KwaZulu-Natal is a much busier place, and getting busier by the hour since the restriction of travel regulations.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to be part of our programme focusing on exploring the Kingdom of the Zulu.
We want you to experience our diverse cultures and heritage. At the very same time, we want to you to explore areas of investment in the tourism industry.
The Kingdom of the Zulu is not to be seen – you have to feel it. It boasts two World Heritage Sites, game parks and vast land with breath-taking landscape.
The trip to Northern parts of the province will give you the unique opportunity to climb the valleys and hills overlooking many rivers that run ceaselessly day and night.
UThukela and Umfolozi rivers have nurtured the nation and continue to be a source of inspiration for this Rainbow nation.
Last week I observed World Rhino Day at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park. This park is managed by our entity Ezemvelo. It is often referred to as the ‘birthplace of rhino’ as it was this area where the southern white rhino was saved from the brink of extinction, over half a century ago. There are areas of investment in the eco-tourism that we can explore.
You may also be interested to know that during our tourism month activations last week, I was joined by Ambassadors and High Commissioners. The last stop was the Drankesberg – the World Heritage Site.
We are inviting potential investors to consider the Drankesburg cable car project and other initiatives in the hospitality industry in partnership with local communities.
We have Invest SA KwaZulu-Natal One Stop Shop - a facility is located in our Trade Investment KZN offices. Thus facility is aimed at ensuring that doing business in the province is becoming easier by the day.
This facility offers prospective investors a wide range of support services such as company registration, tax clearance, visa applications and all business registration requirements.
We have also opened Invest One-Stop Shops in all our Economic Zones of Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay IDZ. We have strengthened relations with national departments involved in One Stop Shop to ensure speed and efficiency in assisting potential investors.
We are ensuring synergy within all role-players in the provincial investment agencies, local authorities and the relevant government departments involved in regulatory, registration, granting of permits and licensing matters.
As KZN government we have established a number of institutional arrangements in order to strengthen our partnership with the private sector.
Our brother and a friend Ebrahim Patel has also ensured that we work with members of Minara Chamber of Commerce.
Here in eThekwini, key amongst these is the Durban Investment Promotion Agency and Ethekwini Planning Commission. These are modeled along the provincial structures which have proved effective.
Our main focus, Excellencies is creating the best conditions for economic growth and job creation.
When we lobby for foreign direct investment – we always ask potential investors to partner with locally based entrepreneurs.
Your excellences - the people of this province are excited that you are with us and are positive that you will throw your full weight behind KZN.
The success of KZN is crucial for the success of the whole country.
I thank you