10 reasons why BRICS SA matters

18 JULY 2018

In the context of BRICS, KwaZulu-Natal could play a vital role in spurring economic growth primarily because of its two ports, Richards Bay and Durban.

Durban - South Africa is rolling out the red carpet for the more than 400 delegates that will attend the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg between July 25 and 27.

As heads of states, international media and other dignitaries converge on the country, the lead up to the summit has been preceded by various round-table discussions around the country.

On Tuesday, the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) hosted a BRICS Round Table Discussion involving leaders from all spheres of government, the private sector, and academics.

It comes against the backdrop of Durban hosting the BRICS Business Council meeting, chaired by Dr Iqbal Survé, chairperson of Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media, on July 22 and 23. 

Business leaders attending the Richards Bay Round Table discussion were told that while South Africa was the smallest economy and country in the BRICS grouping it punched above its weight and was primed for growth because of its linkages to Africa.

In the context of BRICS, KwaZulu-Natal could play a vital role in spurring economic growth primarily because of its two ports, Richards Bay and Durban, those attending the panel discussion.

Professor Anil Sooklal the SA ambassador for BRICS talks about the importance of the 10th BRICS Summit that is being held in South Africa. Video: Lee Rondganger.

Here are the 10 reasons to emerge from the Round Table Discussion on why KZN is important to BRICS:

1. Richards Bay is considered the fastest growing secondary city in South Africa with the RBIDZ having already signed investments worth a whopping R11 billion with key sectors of the economy which include chemicals, renewable energy and pipe manufacturing.

2. KwaZulu-Natal plans to create 2.1 million jobs by 2030 and grow by four percent per annum.

3. Apart from the fact that the provincial ports are catalysts for regional and international economic integration, virtually no production can take place in certain parts of Africa and the world without Richards Bay and Durban ports.

4. The province has another unique feature, as it shares its borders with three neighbouring African states of Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland thereby facilitating trade with these nations.  

5. The Durban and Richards Bay ports handle approximately 78% of South Africa’s cargo tonnage.  

6. The Richards Bay Coal terminal, the largest export coal terminal in the world handles about 72 million tons of coal every year.  

7. Transnet will be investing R145.4 billion over the next five years nationally into existing ports, rail and pipeline operations. Of this total infrastructure investment, R18.9 billion is allocated to KZN, of which R7.5 billion is for projects in Richards Bay.

8. Transnet has budgeted for a total of 45 projects in Richards Bay over the next five years which includes the Richards Bay expansion project, the conversion of Berth 702, the Bayview rail yard expansion, improvements to the export coal line transporting coal from Mpumalanga to the Port of Richards Bay, as well as Permanent Way maintenance.

9. The KZN government is finalising plans to establish a R250m KwaZulu-Natal Boatbuilding Park as part of a maritime vessel industrial complex at Bayhead in the Port of Durban which will have the capacity to produce up to 150 boats annually, mainly for the export market.

10. When complete, it will be the single largest boat building facility in Southern Africa and will accommodate emerging and Black-owned boatbuilding companies and key suppliers.