by Cathy Grosvenor

Economic hub takes shape

Dube Tradeport puts KZN on global stage

Yumna Ebrahim, consultant and economics lecturer
Yumna Ebrahim a0028.jpg

Economic diversification is critical to achieving and sustaining long-term economic growth and development and the Dube TradePort, a flagship development project of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Economic Development, is seen by many as just the ticket to achieving this.

Established as a public company by the provincial government, it is believed that the strategically located infrastructural development, just north of Durban, will unlock extensive economic opportunities in global manufacturing, logistics, trade, agriculture and tourism – generating robust and sustainable growth that will eventually benefit not only the province, but the country and even the continent.

It brings together an international airport, a cargo terminal, warehousing, offices, a retail sector, hotels and an agricultural area and is positioned between the two biggest sea ports in southern Africa, and linked to the rest of Africa by road and rail.

With the transition from the construction phase to the operational phase only happening in the 2011/12 financial year, the development is still in its infancy, but was already the object of much excitement at the fifth Brics Summit held in Durban in March.

“At the summit, both India and China committed themselves to significant future investments in the TradePort. This is positive news as it signals confidence in the project, which is really still in its early development phase,” says independent consultant and economics lecturer Yumna Ebrahim. The Chinese plan to invest over R1 billion and will bring the luxury Bayan Tree Hotel brand to South Africa, while the Indian interest relates to developing a mega industrial integrated township.

The R2-billion Indian agreement marks the first major foreign direct investment in the TradePort zone, which has been earmarked by the government as a special economic zone for industrial development.

These planned investments are a step in the right direction for the establishment of Aerotropolis: KZN, a long-term strategy for the development of an airports city centred around the Dube TradePort and King Shaka International Airport (KSIA).

Read the full version of this interesting article in the forthcoming edition of Opportunity magazine, a sister publication to Black Business Quarterly.

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