DURBAN is entrenching itself on the international market as a City for investment, with more than R4 billion worth of greenfield investment and an additional R7.5 billion planned expansion on the cards.

The investment is expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing and service jobs.

This is 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 aftercare in eThekwini.

In a report tabled at the Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting on 23 August, the Unit presented on the 2018/2019 financial year, listing a string of successes that include the investment and expansion of major international companies in Durban. The Unit has also bagged several awards for their work.

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 SA’s Inaugural Presidential Investment Summit and the United Nations 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 has been the securing of a R1 billion greenfields manufacturing investment from the European Union 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 into a new direct flight route from Heathrow to Durban last year.

Additionally, Sithole said a third large new FDI achievement has been a R1.5 billion investment into Mara Phones, Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing facility, which will be officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa in two months’ time.

Another success has been securing LG Electronics to establish their first electronics manufacturing plant and Southern African Development Community warehouse facility in Durban with a R1.5 billion investment.

Sithole said more than 500 new manufacturing and service jobs will be created via the FDI.

Apart from investment, there has also been a significant R750 million expansion by Call Centre International, which is the largest contact centre in South Africa, who originate from the UK.

Supporting investors is also a key function of Invest Durban. Sithole said they were proud to have supported Sappi’s R6billion expansion. Sithole said they have also attended to and supported the R250 million Conlog Manufacturing retention exercises. Invest Durban also supported Defy’s two separate white-good manufacturing upgrades of R121million.

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 Advisors bestowed the award of Top Metropolitan Investment Promotion Agency for the African continent to the Invest Durban Unit.

The Invest Durban Unit has bagged several awards for their investment work which has created numerous employment opportunities in the City.

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