When we started this term of office, we committed the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) to play a central role to ensure inclusive economic growth and job creation. As such, we continue to invite big business and members of business chambers across the province to work with the provincial government. We are committed to exchange ideas and solutions to challenges facing both the public and private sector.
Service Delivery Model
The Service Delivery Model launched by the President of the Republic - His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa in Durban was a clear demonstration of our commitment to turn the situation around. The fact that the President set aside time to meet with big business, is an indication of the seriousness to which we view the role of big business in driving socio-economic development. Our main focus, is creating the best conditions for economic growth and job creation.
We are excited that there is a great interest showed by potential investors due to our aggressive marketing of KZN as a site for foreign direct investment, leisure and sports. When we lobby for foreign direct investment - we always ask potential investors to partner with locally based entrepreneurs. We want local businesses to benefit out of these efforts. Over the past three months we have hosted export week, more than five international investment conferences and exhibitions, where we presented projects that require investments. These includes the Aerotropolis - a City within King Shaka International Airport, Drakensberg Cable Car, Automotive Supplier Park and many other catalytic projects.
Together with the Minister of Tourism, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, we hosted the World Tourism Media Launch. We chose the Drakensberg as part of the efforts aimed at marketing the site to the international media and potential investors. They had the opportunity to appreciate the potential that the area has for investment and tourism. In addition, the World Tourism Celebration was held at the Mandela Capture where international media and international investors showed an interest after being briefed.
We hosted the Afreximbank Executive Vice President (Business Development & Corporate), Mr Amar Kamel and more than 400 potential investors during the 20th Afreximbank Trade Finance Seminar. This is the development bank based in Egypt, which has been funding projects from different parts of Africa. They also showed an interest.
We also presented before more than 100 CEOs of African Development Finance Institutions across Africa and the world. The conference was hosted in partnership with Development Bank of Southern Africa, Industrial Development Corporation and Trade Investment KwaZulu-Natal.
Invest SA KwaZulu-Natal One Stop Shop
We are strengthening the Invest SA KwaZulu-Natal One Stop Shop. The facility, which is in our Trade and Investment KZN offices, 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 our Special Economic Zones - Dube TradePort and Richards Bay IDZ.
We have strengthened relations with national departments involved in the 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. This is what we believe will ensure that we secure investors in the cable car and many other catalytic projects.
The opening of the Durban's Beachfront promenade must be viewed within the context of Operation Phakisa - Oceans Economy. KZN was identified by the national government for the launch of Operation Phakisa, consequently we remain committed to unlocking opportunities along our coast. The repositioning of KwaZulu-Natal as a gateway into Africa and to the world, underlines the importance of the maritime sector, which is central to the future growth of the province and the entire region.
As government, we acknowledge the strategic role played by ports and their necessity to the logistics chain. Among other factors that affect transport costs, the efficiency of ports is one of the most important factors that can be directly influenced by government. Therefore, our policies, legislation and strategies are directed towards the reduction of red tape, improving the efficiency of our port systems, and capacitating our infrastructure. These are issues that are articulated in the KwaZulu- Natal Maritime Strategy.
Under the leadership of the Premier Sihle Zikalala, we are working together with Durban Chamber of Commerce, eThekwini Municipality, Transnet and other role players to deal with challenges of congestion at the port. We have met with Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and stakeholders in the maritime industry to discuss long-lasting solutions. A task team involving all role-players is being assembled to work out an integrated plan as guided by the District Service Delivery Model. This plan will ensure that we turn around the situation.
4th Industrial Revolution
We have invested billions of rands to ensure that our entities are at the forefront of the promotion of the use of cutting-edge technology. Such technology is geared towards driving socio-economic development.
The Moses Kotane Institute of Technology has trained more than 30 000 students in software engineering. Some of the students, upon completion of their studies, have undergone a one-year internship programme in ICT companies in various parts of the world. Moses Kotane and the Dube TradePort are establishing a state-of-the-art Innovation Hub which will be housed at the Dube TradePort. This Innovation Hub will focus on creating artificial intelligence (AI), block chain technology, biotechnology and big data analytics.
We are also moving fast to establish a hardware manufacturing plant. We want this plant to build devices that will connected to the internet as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) programme of Government.
Lastly, we have invested more than R10 billion for the establishment of techno hubs in various parts of the province.
In conclusion, let me emphasize again that opportunities abound and expectations are high. We are all expected to deliver by working together.