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Welcome to the ‘Bay of Opportunity’

Home Events Welcome to the ‘Bay of Opportunity’

DYNAMIC Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber CEO, Denise van Huyssteen is working with her team and stakeholders to position Nelson Mandela Bay as the Bay of Opportunity.
“Nelson Mandela Bay is probably one of the country’s best kept secrets, and there is a lack of awareness around its manufacturing economy. The metro, as a two-port city, which is anchored by manufacturing, is ideally positioned to be a diverse manufacturing hub on the continent,” she says.

Moving to unlock the metro’s potential, the Chamber is hosting a Manufacturing Showcase event in the Bay on 6 and 7 June 2024 which includes business briefings, plant tours, site visits and the opportunity to sit in on a high-level debate on the prospects of the Bay as an investment destination. Panellists include the president of AAAM, Martina Biene, Volkswagen Group Africa MD; Naamsa president, Billy Tom, president and MD of Isuzu Motors South Africa; and businessman, Loyiso Dotwana, president of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

As two of the Bay’s newest investors, Stellantis will provide an overview of its R3 billion light commercial vehicle manufacturing project and Hive Hydrogen will give insight into its planned R104 billion green ammonia production plant. With the roots of Aspen Pharmacare firmly entrenched in Nelson Mandela Bay, the company will reflect on its R6 billion expansion programme at its Korsten site.

“The event showcases the capabilities of manufacturers and their commitment to collaborating for the greater good of the local economy. Key outcomes from the event include the start of the positioning of the metro as the Bay of Opportunity and alongside this, the official launch of the Chamber’s Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank,” Van Huyssteen says.

Trade & Investment Desk

The Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank initiative was given a boost earlier this week. It was announced that auditing, advisory and tax firm BDO South Africa and the Chamber are partnering to launch a Trade and Investment Desk.

BDO South Africa is one of the leading global auditing, advisory and tax firms and, through the partnership, will assist the Chamber to robustly market the metro. As a destination of choice for potential investors, and in support of existing investors, it is actively creating an enabling environment where businesses and the economy can thrive.

BDO South Africa CEO Bonga Mokoena and Van Huyssteen welcomed the partnership and the innovative thinking it represents. “The Trade and Investment Desk is founded on global investment promotion best practice and will elevate business and the economy. I am proud of our strong BDO SA leaders in Gqeberha – Mark Willimott and Siyabonga Mthembu – who have driven this partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.”

“It will optimise the Chamber’s Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank initiative which is proactively seeking opportunities to generate manufacturing investment and employment in the Bay.” – Van Huyssteen

Van Huyssteen is encouraged by BDO’s willingness to collaborate with the Chamber in its quest to retain and attract investment and jobs in Nelson Mandela Bay and says: “This collaboration is a significant milestone between the two entities in terms of providing value-driven service provision for local, national and international businesses. It also reaffirms the importance of finding strong synergies with like-minded partners who are aligned to the vision of unlocking opportunities to bolster South Africa’s economic growth.”

The core objectives of the Trade Desk include investment destination marketing in the Bay of Opportunity, collating economic research and data availability, facilitating inward and outbound buyer delegations, hosting international trade exhibitions, and supporting international business-to-business linkages. “It will optimise the Chamber’s Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank initiative which is proactively seeking opportunities to generate manufacturing investment and employment in the Bay.”

Having two ports in one city makes Nelson Mandela Bay unique. One of these ports is the most modern deep-water port in the southern hemisphere, the Port of Ngqura. The city’s second port, the Port of Port Elizabeth, is another strategic asset which plays a crucial role in many of the city’s leading industries, facilitating the import and export of various goods to major global markets.

Its economy is anchored by a diverse manufacturing base, with the automotive sector as the biggest driver of the local economy representing 41% of automotive manufacturing employment in the country. Alongside the automotive manufacturers, the metro has an extensive manufacturing supply chain which represents almost half of the country’s automotive components manufacturers. “Our manufacturing extends beyond the automotive sector to pharmaceuticals, beverages and agriculture products, reinforcing that this is the ideal environment for these types of economic activities. Many of these manufacturers, which represent multinational organisations, employ highly skilled people and operate in line with global best practices,” she says.

Van Huyssteen adds: “There is no doubt in our minds that the Bay has the potential to strengthen and expand its manufacturing capacity, particularly if the various stakeholders orientate their efforts and actions on ensuring that an enabling environment is in place, especially in terms of logistics, electricity, water and sanitation infrastructure. Alongside this it is vital that we showcase the assets of the Bay, including the fact that it offers over 300 days of sunshine, which in turn offers quality of life benefits for workers.”

“The partnership with BDO enables us to kick-start an optimal positioning of the Bay as an investment destination. We believe we will be able to garner additional support from other stakeholders to strengthen and optimise our linkages. Stronger collaboration focused on common goals will ensure that the assets of the Bay can be unlocked to drive investment and much needed employment,” emphasises Van Huyssteen.

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