SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

South Africa: Economic Development Tops City's Agenda

Doing business and investing in South Africa's busiest airport city is set to become easier after the Ekurhuleni Business Facilitation Network was launched in Kempton Park today.

Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele officially opened the doors of the facility, which is aimed at attracting investment to Africa's first Aerotropolis.

The municipality spent in the region of about R10 million to put the facility together. It is situated a mere five minutes from the OR Tambo International Airport and is a one-stop facility for investment in the city.

"You will note that we have deliberately avoided referring to the facility as a centre in favour of a network, because we are sold on the view that it is through mobilising and leveraging strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations that we shall be able to make a significant impact on the economy of Ekurhuleni," said Gungubele.

"We have realised that one of the most critical ways to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality is job creation and it starts with an enabling environment for investors see us as the investment destination of choice."

The Ekurhuleni Business Facilitation Network comprises the following strategic business units:

An Investment Centre

Business Centre

BizSpark Application Development Centre

Aerotropolis Project Office

Ekurhuleni SEDA Enterprise Development Branch Office

The Ekurhuleni Business Facilitation Network will go a long-way to enabling the Ekurhuleni Metro to provide a coordinated business support, incubation, mentorship, linkages and financing intervention for SMMEs and cooperatives; relax development application processes and requirements to unlock public and private sector investments into the city; and coordinate the development and roll-out of the 30 years Aerotropolis Master Plan.

"Against this backdrop, I am equally pleased to further introduce the international consortium led by Aurecon that has been awarded the contract to develop the 30-year Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Plan.

"This is yet another milestone in our efforts to reposition the regional economy at the centre of the aviation and non-aviation business through the development of a comprehensive value-proposition that aims to haul in investment, facilitate industrial agglomeration, new venture enterprise development and skills development," Gungubele said.

During the Ekurhuleni State of City Address in 2013, the city had made several undertakings that are aimed at stimulating township economic activity, releasing developable land, attracting large-scale investments, and driving economic efficiencies and competitiveness in pursuit of a growth and development trajectory for the region.

The City of Ekurhuleni has unique locational advantages. These include air, road and railway connectivity to major routes such as the N12, N3, N17, N4, R21, R24; and being home to the OR Tambo International Airport which serves over 95 destinations worldwide.

It has a positive macroeconomic environment, stable financial liquidity that is manifest through unqualified audit reports for past five years, a positive credit rating, a market value asset portfolio of over R12.8 billion and the presence of +/-41 000 industrial manufacturing companies.

The city has developed a framework that prioritises investment and development facilitation in order to improve its relationship with the investing community.

"Our primary intent is to ensure that public and private sector investments into strategic, affluent, underdeveloped and marginalised areas of Ekurhuleni are unlocked through a systematic and coordinated fast-tracked investment and development decision-making machinery - and it all starts with an innovative product like this facility," said Gungubele. - SAnews.gov.za

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