Economic Development and Job Creation Strategy
The Economic Development and Job-Creation Strategy 2013-2017 is being launched by the eThekwini Municipality for the City of Durban and will be executed by the Economic Development Unit, as per the local government mandate with the intention of providing the core principles, mechanisms and processing necessary to enable municipalities to move progressively towards social and economic upliftment of local communities.

The city is poised for massive economic growth from several major catalytic projects over the next 20 years creating in excess of 190,000 jobs. Major construction projects such as the Cornubia mixed-use commercial-residential development, the port expansion plans, Dig-Out Port, Kings Estate, Inyaninga Industrial Estate, Finningley mixed use development; Bartletts; ongoing economic opportunities at Dube Trade Port and the development of the dedicated freight route are all expected to contribute towards this growth. .
 
The Strategy seeks alignment and ensures it is homologous with the relevant Strategies within the three spheres of government – most notably the New Growth Path, National Development Plan and the Industrial Policy Action Plan from National government, all of which have identified specific sections of the economy with job creation potential. The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Industrial Development Framework and the Growth and Development Strategy also guide the local government initiatives.
 
In compiling the regional Integrated Development Strategy, the Spatial Development Framework and others, the eThekwini Municipality has ensured that the essential principles and focus areas resonate with these reports. South Africa’s invitation to join a group of countries now calling itself BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) means we are now sharing a platform with a hugely significant bloc having tremendous clout to influence tangible outcomes at the global level. On the regional front it gives eThekwini the opportunity to explore or strengthen economic gateways to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and with the other members within BRICS as the City embarks on its ambitious plans to develop its freight corridor and expand operations at the existing Port and the new Dig-Out Port.
 
These lofty goals, however, may be hampered by various socio-economic and other threats such as the lack of appropriate job skills, poor economic leadership, unspectacular economic and employment growth, inadequate foreign direct investment, high cost of doing business, poor infrastructure and a lack of serviced industrial land.

Across a number of socio-economic indicators, the eThekwini Municipal region’s relative position is not very encouraging when compared with the other major metropolitan cities. The Strategy examines trends in the detailed sub sectors in manufacturing noting the comparative and competitive attributes for each after which a choice of industries are selected. These priority sectors include automotive, chemicals, clothing and textiles, food and beverage, furniture, metals, electronics and electrical machinery and green industries. In the services sector tourism, ICT, creative industries (Film and Media; Crafts; Fashion), finance and professional services and maritime and logistics were identified.
 
Business Development Strategy

The Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit (EDIPU) and Business Support, Markets and Tourism Unit (BSMT) are the responsible functions of local government mandated to implement the Municipality’s local economic development (LED) programmes, the development and promotion of SMMEs, and the packaging of strategic local economic development strategies for priority disadvantaged regions in the EThekwini Municipal Area (EMA). In order to assess the effectiveness of these interventions and provide direction on business development issues, the Municipality requires a strategy which targets the development of Small Micro Medium Enterprises (SMMEs).

The consultants have submitted the inception report, and the eThekwini Business Development Strategy draft report has been submitted. The draft was circulated to the relevant stakeholders. Interviews were conducted with the City officials (Heads of Economic Development and Investment Promotion, and Business Support, Markets and Tourism; Deputy Heads and programme managers). This will be followed by numerous workshops with relevant stakeholders in the SMME space.