KZN looks to the sea for growth

2012-02-22 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL is looking to the sea to become a driver of the province’s economic growth.

Making his state of the province address, Premier Zweli Mkhize said it was ironic that KZN boasted two of the largest ports on the continent and a long coastline and hosted the largest number of ships of any port in Africa, yet it had a poorly developed maritime industry, with literally no coastal activities in maritime tourism, ship building and repair, fisheries and maritime support services.

“As a result, our province has missed out on a multi-billion rand industry that would be employing thousands of people.”

The recent cabinet lekgotla had decided that the elevation of the maritime sector as driver of economic development and job creation was core to KZN’s ability to respond to the challenges and benefits that came with the province’s geopolitical location and being a gateway to the rest of Africa and the world.

The KZN government would launch a provincial maritime cluster that would comprise the private sector, particularly emerging businesses, state-owned enterprises and learning and research institutions.

This was necessary to harness the sector’s full potential, he said.

To this end the province would host a maritime industry conference this year, Mkhize said.

KZN would develop an inclusive integrated maritime sector development strategy to ensure “optimal exploitation of opportunities arising out of this lucrative sector” and would include marine tourism.

To enhance KZN’s competitiveness as a maritime gateway province, he said, “we are going to prioritise the maritime skills capacity developments” through measures such as hosting of a maritime careers and jobs expo and strengthening maritime institutions “by expanding maritime studies beyond the existing two schools, FETs, universities of technology and academic universities”.

— Witness Reporter.

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