ECDC drives more investment, doubles trade
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) today announced strong results for the 2010/11 financial year including investment and trade figures exceeding R1,6 billion.
Releasing the financier's annual results, ECDC chief executive Sitembele Mase says the corporation facilitated exports of more than R1 billion, double the R502 million of the previous year. This is in addition to investments of R661 million that ECDC attracted to the province. The development financier also stimulated intra-provincial trade worth R72 million, also up on the R39 million from last year.
Mase says extensive research was conducted on provincial exports and this led to a review of the provincial trade promotion strategy. The strategy has three goals: to increase the value of trade, number of exporters, explore new markets to broaden trade within South African Development Community and improve BRICS trade relations. Efforts from the strategy resulted in the number of new exporters increasing to 39 from 26 of the previous review period.
Mase explains these results are crucial for the wellbeing of the economy, in particular small businesses which are influenced by domestic and foreign markets.
"Foreign direct investments (FDI) are often catalytic and support the expansion and growth of small businesses.
Yet financial and non-financial support which improves their market readiness and competitiveness remain the key cornerstones for developing the small to medium businesses in the region.
"ECDC financed 451 enterprises with R109 million, of which 45 percent are based mostly in the rural OR Tambo District Municipality which has towns such as Matatiele and Kokstad. Through these funds, 1,797 jobs were created," says Mase.
Furthermore, 28 percent of lending has gone to support youth and women-owned businesses.
Other support has included ECDC assisting over 5,000 businesses to register as legal entities which gives these access to business opportunities in the private and public sector.
"In further developing our position as an effective and forward-looking development finance institution (DFI), ECDC supported the landmark development of the R2 billion De la Vlei Wildlife Estate, west of Port Elizabeth. This project is likely to be high impact and catalytic for the local economy, creating business opportunities for smaller businesses with potentially great knock-on effects for job creation."
An investment of R415 million has already been committed for the first phase of the project. ECDC lobbied for the passing of the environmental impact assessment, which was crucial to unlocking the development.
He explains that ECDC's future, lies in providing development finance such as this project, attracting investments, providing non-financial support and establishing a research and innovation capability that ultimately translates into enhancing the economic livelihoods of the people of the Eastern Cape.
"Our focus is to create solutions that bridge the economic divide between rural, peri-urban and urban communities in the Eastern Cape," says Mase.
In support of this vision, ECDC is reconfiguring its regional structure to improve access to its services and effectiveness of its operational mandate.
"ECDC is also reviewing its balance sheet to unbundle non-core and non-performing assets.
"The ultimate vision is to re-engineer and reposition ECDC as a reputable, high performing and professional entity and reduce our current dependency on the fiscal transfers from the provincial government, " says Mase.
Article Tags: www.ecdc.co.za