KZN Showcased in London
KZN at Times Africa CEO Summit
The Honourable Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, are London, UK, meeting with current and potential investors and to participate in the Times Africa CEO Summit. This is an ideal opportunity for the Premier to interact with a large number of CEOs and UK based investment fund managers and to spread the news that Africa and particularly South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with massive opportunities.
Some of the CEO’s include Old Mutual, SAB Miller, Anglo-American, Glencore, Bain Capital, Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Bank, etc.
Africa is no more the step child of the world, it’s no more the “Hopeless Continent” as described by The Economist in 2000 and its no more a continent ruled by dictators. The “new” Africa is a continent full of hope and aspirations, according to the Premier and the Minister.
The basis for the “new” optimism about Africa is founded on its past impressive economic growth rates, the fact that is leading the global economic recovery and the IMF’s growth estimates. The IMF estimates Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies to expand by 5.75% during 2013 with several big African countries to hit growth rates of 10%.
More significantly the World Bank said in a 2011 report that “Africa could be on the brink of an economic take-off, much like China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago,” though its officials think major poverty reduction will require higher growth than today’s—a long-term average of 7% or more. This really made people interested in Africa and also have put a massive responsibility on Africa not turn its back on the gains it made during the last decade.
The Premier reminded the CEO’s and fund managers that South Africa is a proud member of the African Union sharing in the ideals of the people of Africa. South Africa is intimately part of the basic fibre of Africa and Africa is in the blood of South Africa. The South African dream and the Rainbow Nation are fully entranced in the South African psyche. There can be no doubt that South Africa has come a long way since the birth of democracy. The Premier also reminded the CEO’s and fund managers that much more work is still needed and that the Government stand fast in our resolve to make South Africa a truly none-racist, none sexist and prosperous country for its entire people. We will not stop, we will not slow down. We will continue on our journey as fought for by former president Nelson Mandela.
The Premier stressed the importance of South Africa’s inclusion and active participation in BRICS grouping, both as a gateway to the continent and as a catalyst for African integration. There is definitely a significant interest from UK businesses in the BRICS grouping. The Premier also stressed the importance of the National Development Plan and the Infrastructure Plan. South Africa’s vision 2030 is based on a shared consensus of all the social partners. Our path is clearly laid out and most importantly will give policy certainty to investors. The SA Government understands that policy certainty and continuity is of paramount importance and urged investors to familiarize themselves with the NDP. It was also suggested that a forum be established to facilitate investors relations with SA and that a mutual beneficial framework be developed.
The Premier participated in a number of discussions about the the investment potential at the Times Africa CEO summit. The summit was attended by about 300 delegates from both the African continent and the UK. The Premier in his presentation to a select handful of UK business leaders highlighted the fact that 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 Pietermaritzburg, with significant contributions in the Richards Bay, the Ladysmith, the Newcastle regions as well as on the Ugu region.
Kwazulu-Natal in its quest to be the epicentre of Africa’s sustainable economic growth and development has developed a number of strategies to grow the economy. Key among the strategies is the (PGDS) which is an overarching strategy that articulates government 20 year vision and the programmes and projects necessary to achieve this vision.
This strategy was developed by the KwaZulu-Natal Planning Commission and adopted by the Provincial Cabinet. The PGDS has identified a number of catalytic infrastructural development programmes which are aimed at changing the struggle of the economy toward a vibrant economic gateway of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa in general.
The PGDS identifies a number of challenges that must be addressed if the province is to become gateway into South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. But these challenges are in turn business opportunities for the entrepreneurs and these include amongst others the following:
• Rail underdevelopment;
• Port capacity constraints;
• Lack of social Capital;
• Congestion on the roads especially N3 and its feeder road networks;
Both the national and KwaZulu-Natal governments have already committed to addressing these challenges. Part of the vision of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial and Growth and Development Strategy states that, ‘by 2030, the province of KwaZulu-Natal should have maximized its position as a GATEWAY to South and Southern Africa’.
This vision that KwaZulu-Natal provincial government aspires to act increasingly as a transmission belt between global and regional markets and production facilities. The PGDS identifies infrastructure development as key to fulfil this vision and some of the infrastructural programmes it proposes include, inter-alia, the Dugout port in Durban, Dry Port Development and dedicated road/rail link, aerotropolis, Durban Gauteng Rail Upgrade and regional airport development. The implementation of these projects will inevitably position the province as a major trade gateway into South Africa and its hinterland.
Unleashing KZN artistic talent in London
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize has paid tribute to the great sons and daughters of South Africa, who over the past 14 years have, worked hard using their artistic talent to promote our culture and heritage in London and all over the world. He was speaking at the Lyceum Theatre, Covent Garden in London where he met with the cast members of the Lion King, most who are from KZN.
Dr Mkhize was a guest of Composer and Producer of THE LION KING and Executive Producer of “KwaZulu-Natal Presents: Lebo M’s King and Us Revelation World Tour,” Lebo M.
Dr Mkhize is in London on the invitation from Brand South Africa and together with the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan met with CEOs of top companies representing different sectors of the economy such as banking, IT, maritime, mining and NGOs. They also met with South Africans who are based in London they encouraged them to continue to tell a beautiful story about South Africa.
He cited the cast of the LION KING as ambassadors who are showcasing the Rainbow Nation across the world.
“We acknowledge with pride your efforts to use your talent to present to the world the rich cultural heritage that we all share across the cultural and racial divide. Your contribution towards the success of the Lion King should inspire us all and importantly, it shows that we stand a better chance of not only survival but prosperity in a rapidly changing global environment.”
“Our country and our province in particular is rich in history, heritage sites and entities that cross the cultural divide. We need to cherish, preserve and market this to the whole world. The LION KING has provided that platform.”
Grammy award winner Lebo M is Producer of The LION KING South Africa, one of four original score and song composer of the Animation feature block buster animation of the same title including Elton John, Tim Rice and Han Zimmer.
At the 15th anniversary of the original Broadway Production in New York in 2019, Lebo M conceptualized and is to produce in partnership with the KZN Government, The KING AND US REVELATION World Tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of South African democracy coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Lion King Animation movie. The King and US Revelation World Tour will debut at the MOSES MABHDA Stadium December 2013, prior to a global Tour as a concert event tour.
Nelson Mandela gets his scarf back
The Statue of former South African President Nelson MaNdela in Parliament Square, London was unveiled on 29 August 2007. On the night after the unveiling an unknown person went and placed a South African scarf around the Mandela Statue as a symbol of South African pride. The scarf stayed in place around Madiba's neck for many months and become a reasonable well known accessory of the Mandela statue in London. Unfortunately it was eventually taken by a tourist as a souvenir some month’s later.
On a recent visit to London, proudly South African, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize decided that with the London winter being extremely cold this year, that Madiba might need his South Africa scarf back. And so at the end of Dr Mkhize week-long official trip in London he went to visit the struggle icon to wish him good health and importantly, to replace the original South African scarf around Madiba's neck as a symbol of pride and respect for the former South African Statesman.
Issued by the Office of the Premier of KZN - South Africa
Photos: Reinhardt Hartzenberg