KWAZULU-Natal business leaders have expressed confidence in the provincial government’s commitment to drive economic recovery and intervene with speed to ensure the ease of doing business.
That’s according to Premier Sihle Zikalala, who joined co-chairperson of the KZN Growth Coalition, Moses Tembe, recently to lead a government delegation, including MECs and mayors, at a recent business workshop hosted by the coalition. It brought together over 100 CEOs from various businesses.
During the workshop, business and government leaders agreed to collaborate on joint investment promotion to attract investors to the province, as well as take advantage of the African export market through the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Reflecting on the deliberations and resolutions of the workshop, Zikalala said the engagement was highly successful, with all parties embracing the social compact.
“The business community is eager to see business growing and as government, we will do everything to support them. We have taken concrete resolutions with regard to issues of security and safety.
“We have also taken concrete resolutions on how to deal with issues of corruption and implementation of programmes. We have put in place mechanisms that will ensure that the implementation of catalytic projects is coordinated in a way that will expedite the implementation of all projects.”
Zikalala said the engagement also enabled the provincial government and business to share strategies and develop a common plan of action.
“We believe the private sector will be our ambassadors and we will jointly reach out to the rest of the world and the African continent to attract investors into the province.”
Held in Port Edward on 10 and 11 March 2022, the workshop was used as a platform for provincial government and business to discuss a social compact to grow the provincial economy.
Among the major issues deliberated at the workshop were security improvements and safety for business to operate effectively.
Zikalala noted that from its inception, the KZN Growth Coalition was bolstered by the need to foster cooperation among social partners and to ensure that there was a shared agenda to promote growth and development in the province.
He said KwaZulu-Natal has excellent infrastructure developed over the years to position the province as a serious economic player in the world.
Reflecting on the economic turnaround, Zikalala said in the midst of global turmoil, South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product increased by 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing the annual growth for 2021 to 4.9%.
“Mining, agriculture and manufacturing recorded the highest growth rates, with finance and personal services among the largest positive contributors to overall growth.”
He urged business to pay more attention to the integration of young people and women into the economy to commit to investing more in the province.
“We need to invest in industrialisation of the provincial economy. We have taken a position to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area to provide access of local companies to the rest of the African market.
“We are pledging that we must do things smartly and differently and deal with security issues and electricity supply.”