DURBAN is entrenching itself on the international market as a city for investment, with more than R4 billion worth of greenfield investment and an additional R7.5 billion planned expansion on the cards.
This is the result of the Invest Durban Unit, which is responsible for driving all investment promotion, foreign direct investment (FDI) facilitation and foreign investor aftercare in eThekwini. The investment is expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing and service jobs.
In a report tabled at the Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting on 23 August, the Unit, listed a string of successes attained during the financial year which included the investment and expansion of major international companies in Durban. The Unit has also bagged several awards for its work.
Phillip Sithole, Deputy City Manager for Economic Development and Planning, said the biggest successes in the past year has been securing a R1 billion greenfields manufacturing investment from the European Union by one of the world’s largest food companies, Kerry Group, with the factory opening later this year.
Other successes included the securing of British Airways’ investment into a new direct flight route from Heathrow to Durban last year. A third FDI achievement has been a R1.5 billion investment into Mara Phones, Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing facility, which will be officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa in two months’ time. Another success has been securing LG Electronics to establish their first electronics manufacturing plant and Southern African Development Community warehouse facility in Durban with a R1.5 billion investment. Apart from investments, there has also been a significant R750 million expansion by Call Centre International, the largest contact centre in South Africa, who originate from the UK.
Supporting investors is also a key function of Invest Durban. Sithole said they were proud to have supported Sappi’s R6 billion expansion and also attended to and supported the R250 million Conlog Manufacturing retention exercises. Invest Durban also supported Defy’s manufacturing upgrades of R121 million.