Durban has becaome known around the world as a major African city. The name Durban, which strictly speaking relates to the City of Durban, has come to be associated more broadly with the local government area officially known as the eThekwini Municipality. The eThekwini Municipality Area consists of 2297km2, of which 36% is rural and a further 29% is peri-urban. The municipal area stretches from Umkomaas in the south, including some tribal area in Umbumbulu, to Tongaat in the north, moving inland to Ndwedwe, and ends at Cato Ridge in the west.
The city has a number of challenges and social needs such as providing equitable access to water, sanitation, energy and transport. While significant progress has been made in all areas, there is still some distance to go towards addressing these many challenges. The city's vision is that "By 2020, eThekwini Municipality will be Africa's most caring and liveable city." To realise this vision, there are basic elements that all citizens, the business community and visitors must have:
Ease of movement in the city
A safe environment in all parts of the municipal area
Access to economic opportunities
Resources to afford what the city offers
A clean and green city
Access to services, in particular municipal, health and education services
Continued economic growth and the steady improvement of living standards, access to reliable transport and better working conditions in the city will ensure that Durban's economy grows. It is imperative to create a city which is more accessible and where people can happily live, work and play. In addition, having work and home closer together with better transport will lower the cost of living as well as stimulate the local economy. More efficient transport systems would enable business operations to stay open for longer hours and provide shifts to their work forces, boosting both employment opportunities and profits. eThekwini also aims at being a smart city. The fibre optics cable network that has been established enables broadband connectivity between government department, schools and businesses which allows better communication and reduces the cost of doing business. An aim of the network is to see that every young person, irrespective of location, has access to the internet.
The eThekwini Municipality has three main thrusts in order to grow the economy and provide much needed employment opportunities, these are:
Ports and logistics
Tourism and eventing
Ports and Logistics
This programme aims to optimise the municipality's existing transport and logistics system and infrastructure for the movement of goods and services. This significant sector functions as a public private partnership seeking to improve efficiencies and capacity in the key logistics nodes through support programmes for sea-, air and land freight. Nationally, the South African Government has a 2050 vision for its transport and logistics infrastructure. Of main importance is the establishment of a transport corridor between Gauteng and Durban. Plans include the expansion of the Durban Port to include a dug-out port at the old Durban airport site as well as a toll road connecting Gauteng and Durban which will be designated for trucks. The Dube TradePort also has many opportunities for investment at present.
The manufacturing sector is key to the local economy and a number of clusters have been established together with private partners to support various sectors, including the automotive, clothing and textile, wood processing, maritime and the ICT sector. These clusters assist in devising best-practice models for enhancing global competitiveness. By enhancing the sectors competitiveness the municipality hopes to address the various challenges affecting the economy such as leaner production methods, human and technology skills, value-chain alignment and benchmarking programmes.
Tourism and Eventing
Durban is a prime holiday destination with a wide range of things to do. The Moses Mabhida stadium has been built to Olympic specifications and is able to host local and international events as was showcased by the FIFA World Cup. Football in the province also has much potential to grow as does the popularity of the AmaZulu Football Club brand with its associated economic opportunities.
The ICC Durban is proud have hosted one of the world's largest conferences; the 17th (COP 17) Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Durban is also becoming known as Africa's green city. The city has devised a set of greening principles, approaches and strategies which will continually be integrated into infrastructural projects. The pioneering waste management and recycling system has also resulted in a major CO2-emission reduction that helps slowing climate change on a local, national and global scale. In the long term the green land-filled sites and the efficient waste management system will help improving the air quality and the quality of life for the citizens of Durban and South Africa.
With its firm partnerships with business, proactive delivery, and sound financial track record is comes as no surprise that the eThekwini Municipality is KwaZulu-Natal's top metropolitan municipality. As a key gateway to trade in the country, Africa and the world, Durban is best placed to offer your business an environment in which to prosper.
"By 2020 the eThekwini Municipality will enjoy the reputation of being Africa's most liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony. This vision will be achieved by growing its economy and meeting people's needs so that all citizens enjoy a high quality of life with equal opportunities, in a city that they are truly proud of."
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