This was the message delivered by BCM Executive Mayor Cllr Princess Faku today as she officially opened the China- South Africa partnership and business conference at the East London ICC on Thursday, 29 June.
“This partnership business conference take place exactly 10 days following the successful Eastern Cape BRICS Roadshow which was hosted here in East London, she said.
“Since the dawn of democracy, South Africa has been a nation on a path to rebuild and reconstruct its economy in order to shape its future.”
“We are therefore gathered here with a shared vision of promoting investment opportunities and strengthening the partnership between the Buffalo City Metro and China. This conference serves as a crucial platform to identify key opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, livestock, tourism, culture and heritage, digital economy, manufacturing, sport and the green economy.
As a City Hard at Work, we are committed to forging stronger ties with the Chinese Embassy and investors from China.”
“China’s targeted investments and partnerships with regional economies such as East London tends to be in labour-intensive sectors which have a higher degree of creating job opportunities for young people. These are the targets we have also set for ourselves as a developmental state – using the District Development Model with national and government and the private sector as our guiding framework for economic transformation.”
Faku committed that the City was ready for developmental relations with the Chinese.
“We reaffirm our strategic objective to reposition Buffalo City as a Distinguished City for investment promotion through the development of robust infrastructure. With Transnet committing to the Port of East London infrastructure expansion over the next 10 years, we see immense opportunities to grow our economy by supporting increased volumes in the port and developing the passenger terminal to accommodate more passenger liners at East London Harbour.”
Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Mlungisi Mvoko urged the conference to find solutions to critical investment questions.
“As you deliberate over the two days, there are critical questions which you must find answers to. Some of those questions are:
• What are the comparative advantages of your municipal area?
• What are your existing enablers for investment? How to nurture those and leverage more investors?
• Which emerging sectors have a potential to grow your economy and be attractive to potential investors?” he said.
“It is also important for this gathering to consider some of the feedback that we get from investors, so you can strengthen your investment value proposition as a City.”
Mvoko emphasized that the Metro had great potential.
“We can all agree that Buffalo City Metro Municipality is a City of opportunities – a jewel that can help the Province to unlocking opportunities in key sectors such as the Automotive, Tourism, Energy, and even the Digital Space.”
“The Eastern Cape, particularly Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela metro, enjoy a great advantage in the automotive industry, in that we have well-established international vehicle manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz SA, VW SA and Isuzu located here at our cities.”
“The East London Industrial Development Zone is one of the leading Special Economic Zones in Africa, and it is located here in the Buffalo City Metro. They have attracted billions of investment into the Province, especially in the automotive sector,” he added.