The Dube TradePort, which incorporates the King Shaka International Airport, has in the past ten years invested R11.5-billion into the South African economy and created nearly 100 000 jobs, KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the yearly KwaZulu-Natal Export Week, he described the Dube TradePort as a valuable special economic zone for the entire country that has attracted investments and facilitated the importation and exportation of diverse goods.
Cargo volumes through Dube Cargo Terminal have grown considerably – by 138% – since its opening in 2010, Zikalala added.
“King Shaka International Airport has continued to see increased passenger numbers. It has experienced the highest growth, with passenger numbers increasing by 7.7% to 5.64-million for the previous financial year and its domestic passenger base has grown by 8.47% in the first three months of 2018,” he elaborated.
Zikalala further stated that the KwaZulu-Natal Export Week was established to recognise, promote and assist with growing export opportunities in the province, thereby giving export-ready businesses a platform to enhance their international business development strategies.
Held under the theme ‘Think Global: KZN the African Trade Hub’, the event highlights the significance of the export sector to the province’s economy, and celebrates the contribution made by exporters to the economy of this coastal province.
Zikalala stressed that export trade could also play a vital role in the creation of jobs.
“South Africa’s export levels are well below those found in many emerging markets with the bulk of concentration on raw materials. As a government, we want to see more finished products exported and value addition industries created which, in turn, will stabilise our economy, create jobs and reduce unemployment,” he said.
The top exported products in South Africa include precious stones, ores, slag and ash, mineral fuels and oils, vehicles, iron and steel, machinery, edible fruits and nuts, including citrus, electrical equipment, aluminium and articles thereof and plastics.