City is the new darling of global investors
The investments were expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing and service jobs. The municipality said this was the result of the strategic intervention of the Invest Durban Unit, which is responsible for driving all investment promotion, foreign direct investment (FDI) facilitation and foreign investor after-care in eThekwini.
In a recent report tabled at an Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting, the unit presented on the 2018/19 financial year, listing a string of successes that included the investment and expansion of major international companies in Durban.
The unit has also bagged several awards for their work. The city said the unit’s work has resulted in increased awareness of Durban via sector-focus of investment promotion activities, plus more visible participation in relevant international and domestic events such as South Africa’s Inaugural Presidential Investment Summit and the UN World Investment Forum held in Geneva last year.
Phillip Sithole, deputy city manager for Economic Development and Planning, said the biggest successes in the past year had been the securing of a R1bn greenfields manufacturing investment from the EU by one of the world’s largest food companies, Kerry Group, with the factory opening later this year. Other successes include the securing of British Airways’ investment in a direct flight route from Heathrow to Durban last year.
Additionally, Sithole said a third large new FDI achievement was a R1.5bn investment into Mara Phones, Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing facility, which will be officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa soon.
Another success had been securing LG Electronics to establish their first electronics manufacturing plant and Southern African Development Community warehouse facility in Durban with a R1.5bn investment.
Sithole said more than 500 new manufacturing and service jobs would be created via the FDI.
Apart from investment, there has also been a significant R750m expansion by Call Centre International, which is the largest contact centre in South Africa, which originates from the UK.
Supporting investors is also a key function of Invest Durban. Sithole said they were proud to have supported Sappi’s R6bn expansion. He added that they have also attended to and supported the R250m Conlog Manufacturing retention exercises. Invest Durban also supported Defy’s two separate white-goods manufacturing upgrades of R121m.
Among their many accolades, Invest Durban won the 2018 Standard Bank KZN Top Business Portfolio Award for the most exceptional partnership delivery. The unit also won the Professional Management Review Diamond Arrow Award in the same year.
At the June 2019 World Forum for FDI in Sydney, the international Conway Group of investment Analysts and Advisers bestowed the award of Top Metropolitan Investment Promotion Agency for the African continent upon Invest Durban.