Kwazulu-Natal is an important hub of industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to its rich natural resources and well-developed infrastructure.
Economic activities in the province are mainly concentrated on the port of Durban and the capital, Pietermaritzburg, with significant contributions in the Richards Bay-Empangeni area, the Ladysmith-Ezakheni area, the Newcastle-Madadeni regions as well as on the south coast.
KwaZulu-Natal is a competitive region for foreign investment, particularly for re-export opportunities through the port of Durban.
The province has identified nine prime targets for inward investment: textiles, clothing, plastic products, chemicals, fabricated metal products, automotive components, wood and wood products, footwear, machinery and appliances. Of these, primary and processed aluminium at world competitive prices from local suppliers, provides a real opportunity for investors in the sector.
Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal promotes strategic business growth in the province. Services to prospective inward investors include:
Richards Bay is the centre of operations for South Africa's aluminium industry. The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is instrumental in securing the country's position as the second-largest exporter of steam coal in the world. Richards Bay Minerals is the largest sand-mining and mineral-processing operation in the world.
The vehicle-manufacturing industry has created a considerable multiplier effect in component and service providers. The automotive leather industry has grown rapidly, with exports significantly increasing foreign exchange earnings. KwaZulu-Natal has also recently undergone rapid industrialisation, thanks to its abundant water supply and labour resources. Industries are found at Newcastle, Ladysmith, Dundee, Richards Bay, Durban, Hammarsdale, Richmond, Pietermaritzburg and Mandeni.
KwaZulu-Natal takes up 7.6% of South Africa's total land area
Substantial progress has been made to the Dube Trade Port and King Shaka International Airport project at La Mercy. It is estimated that redevelopment of the current airport site will create 269 200 jobs over a 25-year period. The airport is expected to be operational by 2010, in time for the Fifa Football World Cup.
The three largest manufacturing industries are pulp and paper products (19%), chemicals and petrochemicals (17%), and food and beverages (16%.)
In the chemicals and petrochemicals sector, industrial chemicals comprise a third, at R1.1-billion, of the gross output, petroleum and coal products 30% at R1-billion, chemicals 21% at R700-million, and rubber and plastic products the balance. In the textiles, clothing and leather sector, which represents 15% of the manufacturing sector, textiles contributed 54% at R1.6-billion and clothing 27% at R800-million.
The manufacturing sector is geared for export, with nearly a third of South Africa's manufactured exports being produced in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative has created unique opportunities for investment in tourism in the St Lucia region. The governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland are launching tourism investment opportunities on a scale unparalleled in Africa - in an area of immense potential underpinned by a wealth of natural and cultural resources, including a pristine coastline, classic African game parks, the southernmost coral reefs in Africa and rich indigenous cultures.
Straddling southern Mozambique, eastern Swaziland and northern KwaZulu-Natal, the Lubombo region has some of the most picturesque and unspoiled natural attractions in Africa. At the heart of the region nestles the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, one of South Africa's seven Unesco World Heritage Sites.
The Lubombo region is currently enjoying the biggest and most prolonged tourism boom in its history. The year 2005 marked the 17th successive year of increased foreign visitor arrivals in South Africa, with a record of over 7-million overseas tourists choosing to holiday in the country.
The growth in international tourism comes on top of a large, established domestic tourism market currently worth twice as much as its foreign counterpart.
Recognising the opportunities offered by this robust growth, a number of excellent tourism investment opportunities have been identified in each of the three countries. These range from beach resorts to boutiques hotels and game lodges, and are designed to help establish the Lubombo region as global tourism destination.
Until now, the region's inaccessibility has inhibited development beyond some game reserves and a few lodges. A major new tourist road and secondary roads are being constructed as part of the Lubombo SDI.
Some R630-million has been committed to regional support networks such as new roads and the upgrading of the major national access route, park infrastructure such as game fences, internal road networks and tourism facilities, the restocking of the park and various regional programmes that include major new malaria eradication drive.