KZN Trade evolution
Mandisa Magubane and Nosipho Gumede
Thirty delegates from various countries around the world descended at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre for day one of the 8th Annual African Ports and Rail Evolution Conference.
The city of eThekwini hosted the two-day programme which is aimed at deliberating strategies that will accelerate new business opportunities in the port and rail sector.
eThekwini Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said in a welcoming statement that the programme is part of Operation Phakisa – which is a government programme that aims to unlock and fast track the oceans economy.
MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Nomusa- Dube Ncube explains export week as an opportunity for companies and private individuals to network and feed off each other within the trading sector.
“Export week is becoming an oasis where export-related companies can learn from each other and forge linkages with one another in order for us to grow our various industries. It is difficult for countries in the developing world to make a case for a sustained economic growth without factoring in the role that export must play in our economy,” said Ncube.
Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Transport, spoke about the innovation of transportation.
“The aim of the free trade area is to promote economic integration and liberalise South African markets. For this to happen we need to connect people in roads, rail, water and airports. The transport sector is without a doubt a cornerstone of dis-connectivity,” [sic] said Mbalula.
The day one entailed panel discussions which emphasised the assessing of regional integration in Africa and the African investment market.