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Investment Landscape

Introducing iLembe District

iLembe is located immediately to the north of the metropolitan area of eThekwini and to the south of the uThungulu District Municipality.

It is strategically placed between the two major harbours of South Africa in eThekwini (Durban Harbour) and uMhlathuze Municipality (Richards Bay Harbour), which is the highest priority development corridor in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

iLembe Municipality is dissected by the N2 national highway running from Durban up through Richards Bay to Swaziland and Mozambique. The district is also located within 10 kilometres of the newly developed King Shaka Airport and Dube Trade Port that will connect the province directly to international markets.

Economic Strengths

Three distinct development zones exist in the district: the coastal strip with its residential and tourism components; the inland corridor, which is influenced by the existence of major commercial agricultural activities, and the rural hinterland. Pivotal to the district’s future success, is the development of Dube Trade Port (DTP) – comprising of the King Shaka International Airport (KSIA), the trade zone, cargo terminal, agri-zone and support zone (with Dube i-Connect servicing the precinct’s IT requirements). The development has created immense opportunities for growth and stimulation of economic initiatives.

There is a strong positive sentiment from the business sector for new direct investment into the region, creating pressure to deliver on serviced commercial sites for occupation, as well as on the upgrade of existing infrastructure to accommodate the new demands. The envisaged Aerotropolis in the provincial 50 year Master Plan will have the KSIA as its nucleus and this lies at a distance of 15 minutes from the iLembe District.

This is an exciting time for the region as a whole, with the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, as approved by Provincial Cabinet in the last quarter of 2011, clearly indicating that the northern corridor of KwaZulu-Natal will become the focus of economic growth over the next 20 years and beyond. This bodes extremely well for the district, which will again experience unprecedented growth once the worldwide economy shows growth once again. Specifically, the R102 and P100 roads have been identified as investment corridors and Compensation has been identified as an economic opportunity zone partly in response to its favourable location with respect to the DTP site.

iLembe is at the heart of South Africa’s logistics platform. The submarine telecoms cable systems connecting South Africa to the rest of Africa has two landing points – Mtunzini in iLembe and the Western Cape. The connections to the submarine cables foster a sustainable call centre industry and the development of ICT hubs. To this end a pilot broadband project was implemented in 2011.


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