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Durban Aerotropolis open to both public and private sector investment

Durban has joined the ranks of an elite club of only a handful of cities around that world that has a dedicated aerotropolis, which once complete, will become the economic driver of the province, creating 750 000 jobs.

The official 50-year Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan was unveiled on 12 September 2019, at the same time that the modern Durban Aerotropolis Visitor Centre, based at the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, was launched.

The announcement was made by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Deputy Minister of Trade and Economic Development Nomalungelo Gina, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube and eThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

The Aerotropolis will have a footprint of 32 000 ha between Ballito and Durban, open to both public and private sector investment and includes green space areas amounting to about 10 000 ha. The entire development has the potential to attract investment valued at around R1-trillion. The Dube Trade Port forms the heart of the new developments that make up the aerotropolis.

The aerotropolis will incorporate business, manufacturers, residential housing, recreation spaces and techno hubs. Premier Zikalala said: “The main objective of the Durban Aerotropolis initiative is to build a 21st century airport city and a way of positioning the province as trade gateway to Africa and the world. Our plan is to turn the region into a bustling hive of economic activity to drive job growth and become a regional economic powerhouse.”

“I am encouraged by the commitment expressed by Mayor Kaunda towards ensuring the provision of bulk infrastructure to ensure the success of this initiative.” Mayor Kaunda said over the past 25 years, the landscape of the country has changed for the better, and eThekwini Municipality was committed to building on the successes with the development of the airport city. “We have identified the Dube TradePort area as one of the key catalytic projects in the City that drives economic growth in the northern part of the City and this growing development has many investment and job opportunities,” said Mayor Kaunda.

At the same time, the Aerotropolis Institute of Africa, to be based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, was launched, bringing together the expertise and research needed in the fields of the aviation economy, air cargo logistics, environmental planning, sustainability and infrastructure.

MEC Dube-Ncube said: “The long-term strategic objective of the Dube Trade Port Project was the establishment of an Aerotropolis in the north of Durban, stretching from Umhlanga to Ballito. Airports have a potential to shape business location in the 21st century.”

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