MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala speaking at the National Special Economic Zone Summit. Photo: Supplied
DURBAN - The National Special Economic Zone Summit held in partnership by KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry has officially launched in Durban. 

The summit which will welcome 500 delegates will be held over two days under the theme ‘Moving Towards Excellence’. 

The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Willies Mchunu, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala and the Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality Councillor Zandile Gumede are some of the speakers that are expected to address the conference.

Zikalala at the conference welcomed the guests at the conference and highlighted the role of KZN as an important hub of industrial development in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

"Economic activities in the province are mainly concentrated in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with significant contributions in the Richards Bay, the Ladysmith, Newcastle and Port Shepstone.  As the province, we have identified nine prime targets for inward investment. These are textiles, clothing, plastic products, chemicals (oil and gas), fabricated metal products, automotive components, wood and wood products, footwear, machinery and appliances," said Zikalala. 

The two Special Economic Zones in KZN are located at the Dube Tradeport and at Richards Bay.  Dube TradePort recently announced the launch of an R18 billion Phase Two that is expected to bring in R20 billion worth of investments over the next five years. 

"Our special economic zones - the Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones - have also generated an interest that is beyond our imagination" said Zikalala. 

He added "Indeed, we are excited that the R18 billion investment brings an additional 45 hectares into the Zone. We are projecting over R20 billion worth of investment over the next five years".