Its agile financial services sector remains solid while the buoyant automotive sector forms the basis of the Eastern Cape’s manufacturing base.
The area’s vast tracts of arable land form an attractive agroprocessing platform, both for growing and processing. Outdoors, conservation, game parks and adventure tourism is the core offering to Eastern Cape tourists.
The province’s two special economic zones (SEZs) in the port cities of Port Elizabeth and East London have lowered the cost of doing business in the province tilting the investment advantage towards the Eastern Cape.
The SEZs aim to realise industrial competitiveness and economic growth in the country.
The Eastern Cape SEZs are prime industrial parks in South Africa providing innovative solutions for various industries including automotive, agro-processing and aquaculture.
Extensive infrastructure network
The Eastern Cape has an extensive infrastructure network that includes air, rail, sea, power, roads as well as telecommunications which have laid a solid foundation for future and sustained economic growth.
Air transport is of great importance in the Eastern Cape with its diversity and distance between modern urban centres and rural areas.
Air infrastructure includes one international airport Port Elizabeth, and two national airports - East London and Mthatha.
A further 16 air strips in small towns and rural areas are owned by municipalities or the private sector.
With its 800 km coastline, the Eastern Cape has always been a seafaring area.
The ports of Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London are growing rapidly in line with South Africa’s strong performance as one of the fastest-growing exporters in the world.
Grid electricity provides 98% of South Africa’s commercial power requirements, with the same being true of the Eastern Cape. Eskom, the national generation and supply company, sells electricity to residential, industrial and commercial consumers.
Many rural consumers are still without electricity, although this is changing through Eskom’s rural electrification programme.
The province is home to 17 renewable energy projects of which 5 are wind projects; the remainder are solar.
The Eastern Cape has an extensive rail network of 3,360 km and 450 stations, which is used for commuters, mainline passengers and freight.
There are two main lines from Port Elizabeth and East London to Gauteng in the northern part of the country and a series of branch lines.
The two main lines are the only electrified lines in the province, although the East London line is not yet fully electrified all the way to Gauteng which is in the north.
The Eastern Cape has an extensive network of 55,088 km of roads servicing the large rural province.
Some 80% of the networks are district, minor and access roads intended to service rural areas.
The Eastern Cape government plans to invest billions in the construction and maintenance of provincial roads.
The South African Roads Agency (SANRAL) is to spend a further R8,5 billion in the province on improving the province’s road infrastructure, including the
Telecommunications has developed immensely in the Eastern Cape over the past 15 years with the introduction and rapid popularity of mobile telephones, which have greatly increased telephone access in rural areas.
ICT infrastructure is being updated throughout the province including the more rural areas of the province.
The province is also part of the government’s broadband project which will see digital connectivity being expanded to the rural parts of the province.