In the above video interview, Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa talks about the municipality’s role in driving and facilitating investment projects and its ability to do so given its poor financial position, improving the ease of doing business and an update on the PEU contract.
City of Tshwane has the second largest economy in the province, contributing about 27% to the GDP of Gauteng and 10% to that of the national economy. It is also the fastest-growing economy in South Africa and has registered an average growth rate of 4% for the past ten years, which is higher than the provincial and national averages.
This was all according to City of Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa who banged the drum of the city’s prospects as he opened the Tshwane International Trade and Infrastructure Investment Conference (TITIIC), which kicked off at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“It is also worth noting that our unemployment rate is approximately 21.4% lower than the national rate,” he said.
“But we cannot gloat over higher rates of growth and lower rates of unemployment when our people, especially the youth, remain on the margins of the economy and face a bleak future.”
The biennial two-day conference invites investors and leaders from business and government to have in-depth discussions on how to finance infrastructure development for the city, in order to support economic growth objectives.
“Because our fiscus alone cannot facilitate the infrastructure investments that we are working on,” he said, adding that the conference would go a long way towards achieving the city’s target of reducing unemployment by more than half by 2030.
Investment will be directed to four high-potential sectors – namely, education and the knowledge economy; agricultural production and agro-processing; tourism; and the green economy – which could contribute up to 490 000 jobs and R125 billion to gross value-add over the next 15 years.
But a focus on these sectors would not mean that traditional sectors are no longer viable. Industries such as aerospace, automotive and components, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing and business process outsourcing remain important.
Automotives in particular remain a key part of the city’s growth strategy, with Ramokgopa listing recent investments in the local automotives sector, which he said account for 40% of automotive exports for South Africa and 10% of total exports.
Said Ramokgopa: “Ford recently announced an investment of approximately R2.5 billion to produce the new Everest SUV at the new Silverton plant. This investment is projected to create a further 1 200 jobs in the local economy. This follows hot on the heels of recent expansion plans by BMW to the tune of R6 billion and Nissan, which talks about expansion from 40 000 to 80 000 units at their Rosslyn plant. Furthermore the first two phases of the Automotive Supplier Park in Rosslyn have been completed.”
The city’s free-Wifi initiative is a notable achievement that has put 25% of Tshwane’s 3.5 million population within walking distance of free internet connections. And the city plans to get this number close to 50% by the end of next year. Ramokgopa said there had been over 1.4 million new devices connected to Tshwane Free Wifi over the last year.
The free Wifi gives young people more learning opportunities as they can access the knowledge economy free of charge, can look for employment more easily and it allows entrepreneurial people a better chance of working on their business ideas and getting them off the ground.
“Some youngsters have started ‘Tshwane Wifi TV’. It already has about 2.5 million viewers, which is more than some traditional TV channels and has a lot of potential from an advertising point of view,” said Ramokgopa.