Mkhize woos Japanese business

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize has arrived in Osaka on an official visit aimed at getting companies in Japan to invest in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhize, who is accompanied by Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, said meetings had been lined up with companies involved mainly in the automotive manufacturing sector.

"We are on a drive of attracting leading manufacturers from Japan because the manufacturing sector has served as a driving force for economic growth in Japan. The labour productivity growth in the sector has been far greater in all sectors since the 90s," said the premier.

He announced recently that around R80 billion would be invested in the refurbishment of the provincial ports in the next seven years.

"The Ports of Richards Bay and Durban are important contributors to international trade and a significant enabler for South Africa and the province's economic development. Some funds will be dedicated towards the implementation of the Durban Dug-Out Port. The Dug-Out Port will accommodate the increased capacity for automotive export market."

The province was also planning an Automotive Supplier Park around the Dug-Out Port. Mkhize said this park would be a strategic site for the production of vehicle components and would improve production and competitiveness of the automotive industry.

KwaZulu-Natal is the biggest manufacturing exporter, with the automotive sector playing a key role in the provincial economy.

About 45.3% of all passenger vehicles and bakkies exported from South Africa came from KwaZulu-Natal in 2008.

The province's trade index grew by 8.3% year-on-year, its strongest growth since last February. This was driven partly by the 25.3% increase in vehicle sales.

"Our main strategic goal is to ensure that the province's automotive industry doubles its size in the next decade and that we become a leading exporter of vehicles. Thousands of jobs will be created in the process," said Mkhize.