KOUGA Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks has invited investors to explore development opportunities along Kouga’s coastline, which remains largely underused.He was speaking at the Eastern Cape Property Marketing and Investor Conference, organised by the Small Harbours and State Coastal Property Development Unit of the Department of Public Works (DPW), in East London last week.The event, which took place at the Hemingways Conference Centre, brought together all coastal municipalities in the province, relevant government departments, invited guests from the business and investment fraternity and other stakeholder bodies.The municipalities took turns presenting their economic models and the investment opportunities that exist for both the state and the private sector to exploit.“The question (on whether to invest or not) is not ‘why Kouga’, but rather ‘why not Kouga?” he said.“In the past we were identified by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department as one of the poorest performing municipalities. We have turned that situation around by adopting simple principles such as having accountability, the rule of law and having a capable state,” he said.The focus of the session was on the oceans economy as reflected in Operation Phakisa, marine infrastructure development and maintenance, property management and letting out, stimulation of local economic development, job creation, SMME empowerment and revenue generation.Hendricks highlighted the untapped beach property development opportunities in the region and quoted the Kouga Coastal Vision, which states: “The greatest growth potential of the Kouga Oceans Economy is based on our tourism industry, more specifically, family- and youth-based tourism.” “We have about 80 kilometres of coastline, 50 kilometres of which is beach property and only 9% of that is developed. That provides any visionary investor with a great opportunity to tap into this missed valuable space.“Through the strides we have been making, we are attracting a lot of interest from developers within the country and abroad who want to be part of growing Kouga into one of the best places to live. So, the time to invest is now,” said Hendricks.The Mayor was joined on stage by local businessman Greg Muller, who presented the technical aspects of future developments in the Kouga. These include, but are not limited to, the development of small harbours and beach precincts, the upgrade of tourism infrastructure, internet infrastructure and the upgrade of coastal town infrastructure to enable further developments and to stimulate investment.The conference was graced by the attendance of Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and members of the provincial cabinet.DPW will be availing government land to municipalities once projects have been identified to stimulate economic growth in the Eastern Cape.