Regions need investors to boost growth

Updated: 2013-03-26 08:01

(China Daily)

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 Regions need investors to boost growth

Three Rondavels are one of the major icons of Mpumalanga. Photos provided to China Daily

South Africa's diverse and fertile provinces offer lure of opportunity

South Africa's far-reaching growth and development plans are being rolled out across all nine provinces with the regional governments fully on board.

From resource rich territories and industrial bases, to unique wildlife habitats, this stunning country continues to impress investors and embodies a nation that is alive with unique possibilities.

Mpumalanga, for example, home of the world-famous Kruger National Park and a host of other attractions, is the country's energy heartland.

The province, that also boasts the world's third deepest canyon, 3 billion-year-old caves and has a fascinating gold-rush history, generates 80 percent of the country's electricity and contributes about 80 percent of the country's coal.

It houses around 60 percent of Eskom's power generation facilities, as well as provides manufacturing, agriculture, and trade and wholesale revenues.

It provides a base for some of the biggest manufacturing companies in South Africa, including Sasol, SAPI and Columbus Stainless, and the opportunities for investment are vast.

As YN Phosa, newly appointed master executive council for the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism explained, the province is looking to create around 720,000 jobs by 2020.

Regions need investors to boost growth

"Arising out of our growth path, we have identified around 15 high-impact projects for the province, ranging from a high level training academy to facilitating the sending of agricultural products to the rest of the world," she said.

"We are actually very big on agriculture and the production of fruit and vegetables and want to focus on processing these and sending them as a finished product.

"We will be building a university to increase the skills development of our people and to assist us in pinpointing the key strategic sectors for value addition, as well as research and development. Everybody needs to collaborate and cooperate so we can deliver at both the private and public levels.

"There are many interesting projects for our counterparts in China to come and invest in. The summit could not have come at a better time."

As well as its multiple natural resources, Boyce Mkhize CEO of the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency said the province's location is a significant advantage.

"We are about 100 kilometers from the Maputo Port, so there are transport access and export opportunities," he said. "We are responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient water in the industrial parks. It is a huge project that will require a lot of investment, and we therefore welcome potential investors.

"Recent delegations from here that have participated in Chinese exhibitions have generated almost 50 business leads. A pathway has certainly been opened which we now need to build upon."

As far as the BRICS summit is concerned, Mkhize said: "People will see with their own eyes that the area is thriving and that things are happening on the ground. They can see that they can live and do business here."

Replicating good practices

Meanwhile, with more than 3 million inhabitants, North West province is the home of South Africa's platinum reserves and a host of famous tourism sights that include Sun City, Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve and Rustenburg Nature Reserve.

"There is a lot we can bring from China and replicate here, in particular in the textiles industry," said MEC of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism, Motlalepula Rosho.

"China is doing very well in terms of managing environmental issues in the energy sector. We also want to focus on renewable energies, especially solar power, because we have more sunlight here than in any other province.

"We are strategically placed and can work together with the Chinese government and business investors. We could, for example, manufacture solar panels.

"The BRICS summit is bringing a lot of opportunities, so we have made a conscious decision to be part of, and involved in, the build-up to the BRICS summit by organizing a BRICS Expo."

In the meantime, international visitors will be given a warm welcome at the award-winning Regent Luxury Apartment Hotel in Johannesburg.

Within easy reach of the city's coolest shopping area and finance and business hub, the Regent boasts five star luxury and elegance in its beautiful penthouses and residential units that combine home comforts with hotel benefits, such as concierge services and 24 hour gate control.

"There has been a 27 percent and 28 percent increase in visitors from China and India respectively," said General Manager Cori Terblanche.

InFocus provided the story

(China Daily 03/26/2013 page19)