Durban a Destination of Choice
Durban a Destination of Choice

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Durban a Destination of Choice


In a bid to ensure that Durban Investment Promotion delivers more effectively on its objectives, the municipality and key business people welcomed a high powered delegation to Durban in early March from the World Bank.  Their project is part of the National Treasury’s City Support Programme to assist with the development of a global best practice investment promotion strategy.  Attached to this will be an implementation plan, which seeks to better structure, resource and deliver not only an improved Durban Investment Promotion service, but a material step change in investment for the benefit of all. As everyone is aware, we desperately need significantly more jobs and revenues for all, urgently.

The World Bank supported project, led by Robert Whyte and George Bennett of the World Bank Group, is made up of six people with significant experience in businesses and government investment promotion agencies, domestically and internationally.

Russell Curtis from Durban Investment Promotion said that attracting new investors, whilst expanding those whom are existing, are key levers we must firmly grasp and pull to urgently improve the Durban economy. 

He said this visit by experts comes after the World Bank hosted a weeklong series of meetings with government and business mid last year, and tabled a “Findings and Recommendations Report” with solutions to ensure the strategy does not just end on paper.

“Some of the findings included developing an entirely new, focussed strategy, identifying the best human and financial resources, and adopting the global best practise structure and operations to headline Durban’s investment promotion efforts,” said Curtis.

He said the process was first funded by National Treasury who contracted the World Bank through their Cities Support Programme (CSP). Other partners have now come on board as well.  The CSP programme involves the engagement of eight municipalities that are the country’s engines for economic growth and have the potential to attract significant new investment, if we get more things right in these spaces.
“We are hugely excited and can’t wait to continue to co-craft the elements with key business leaders, and the eThekwini leadership, because the last time we had a similar kind of step-change opportunity for Durban Investment Promotion was over
17 years ago. This will definitely be the greatest practical opportunity in two decades to better engage with investors, and make a step-change to urgently secure new development for us all,” said Curtis.

He said it is public knowledge that the highest percentage of government revenues come from business trade and investments, which is why the City is now doubling its efforts to quickly accelerate the City’s economy.  These efforts are also linked to the City’s overarching economic development and job creation strategy, which calls for improved economic leadership and greater fixed capital investments (by both government in infrastructure, and business for growth).

Curtis added that the City also has the relatively new incentives policy (rates rebates) for new investments, which was launched in June last year to stimulate economic growth and job creation.  In addition, this has recently been supplemented with additional Durban Investment Promotion incentives and external support services for new investors.

“The policy and practice seeks to offer property rates rebates, subsidised professional services, as well as non-financial facilitation support for investors.  We are pleased to already be offering this support to investors, with certain applications already received from potential beneficiaries,” he added.

Recently the City’s Economic Development and Planning Committee noted the Deloitte Durban KwaZulu-Natal Investment Location Study which had many positive findings, in addition to the challenging areas.

The report indicated that more than 56% of the respondents are planning to invest more in Durban and 60% across KZN.  Durban and KZN, according to the Deloitte Report are, “leading most South African locations when it comes to an attractive social environment and infrastructure”. The survey reveals that “Durban and KZN have some sound fundamentals already in place for both the province and the municipality to retain and attract new investments. Durban and KZN’s most attractive characteristics for investors are its great social environment and its competitive transportation, utility, property and technology infrastructure. The tourism industry and Durban’s location as a transport and logistics hubs are seen as the main investment opportunities. Construction and manufacturing have been identified as additional investment drivers”, according to Deloitte.

Lastly, the survey confirmed, “Durban performs strongly for financial soundness, municipal compliance and selected service delivery areas.”

eThekwini therefore looks forward to implementing our World Bank plus National Treasury partners’ recommendations as we aim to make a more meaningful and impactful improvement for investment promotion in Durban. Business is invited to help lead this, plus give inputs on the quality of

Durban a Destination of Choice

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