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Eastern Cape Business 2023-24

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The 2023/24 edition of Eastern Cape Business is the 16th edition of this successful publication that, since its launch in 2006, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) is supporting this issue of the journal, both in providing up-to-date information for editorial use and in sharing information about its activities. It will also distribute the journal through its regular channels. The Eastern Cape’s multi-faceted approach to the challenges and opportunities of sustainability are explored in a special feature. From caring for agricultural land through partnerships between farmers, wool brokers and fashion houses, to solar panels and improved lighting and water systems, companies are finding ways to incorporate sensible and profitable solutions into their business models. The Nelson Mandela Bay Development Agency celebrates a significant milestone this year, it being 20 years since it began operations.


A REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE Green ammonia, green hydrogen and battery storage are among the new sectors showing promise in the regional economy, along with the Oceans Economy. By John Young Everything about energy is trending in South Africa at the moment. The Eastern Cape has attracted a large percentage of the new investments made into wind farms in the years since the nation decided to encourage private investment in the power sector, but it is battery storage, green hydrogen and ammonia that are stirring interest – and attracting investment rands – most recently. In East London, Bushveld Minerals has built a factory to make vanadium battery electrolyte. At the Coega Special Economic Zone (Coega SEZ) an amount of .6-billion has been pledged by a consortium led by Hive Energy to produce green ammonia and another group of companies, including ENERTRAG South Africa, is looking into the potential of a site near Humansdorp to produce green hydrogen. The German parent of ENERTRAG has a lot of experience in hybrid wind to hydrogen power plants and is working with Sasol on aviation fuel alternatives. Green ammonia and green hydrogen are both produced by electrolysis and the green element is supplied by that process being powered by clean or renewable energy. The difference is that green ammonia is a liquid while green hydrogen is a gas. Various kinds of propulsion are obviously very important to the province’s big original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Volkswagen South Africa, Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Ford Motor Company and Isuzu. These OEMs are keen to get certainly on what South Africa’s policy on electric vehicles is going to be. All of them have recently made large capital investments in new lines or expanded capacity. EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2023/24 8

SPECIAL FEATURE Credit: TPT Ford has started discussions about the creation of a new, high-speed rail link between Tshwane (where it makes Ford Rangers) and Gqeberha, the site of its engine plant. Such a link would enable it to send engines north and send completed SUVs south to one or both of the two ports that serve the city of Gqeberha. Within the Coega SEZ, just north of the city, the Port of Ngqura, pictured, was primarily designed as a container terminal but additional capabilities are being added. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has been tasked with finding a developer for a new Liquid Bulk Terminal and for a new manganese terminal. Transnet has agreed that the tank farm and manganese storage facility at the Port of Gqeberha is to be moved to the Port of Ngqura. This will open up prime waterfront space to tourism and hospitality businesses. The Newlyn Group has designed and submitted a proposal for a back-of-port manganese terminal for Ngqura which would result in almost no emissions and be highly efficient. Unloading of trains and the movement of manganese would all take place in a covered environment. Infrastructure The provincial government has identified six “mega” infrastructure projects on which to focus: N2 Wild Coast Highway, Mzimvubu Water Project, Eastern Cape Transnet initiatives, N2 Nodal Development, undersea cables and the Wild Coast SEZ. With three ports and two large airports, the Eastern Cape is well suited to logistics activity. The Cookhouse Blaney rail branch line is now working and Transnet Freight Rail has pledged to open the line from Kroonstad to the Port of East London. A Slipway Project at Gqeberha is to be completed in the course of 2023 and the grain elevator at the Port of East London is operational again. Having these rail connections operational and linked to the Agriport Terminal at the East London port reduces the costs of logistics and fits into a major national and provincial goal of moving goods from road to rail. By the end of 2023, the 2Africa sea cable will be servicing the Eastern Cape’s communications networks. This will not only assist private enterprise but support the provincial government’s efforts to roll out broadband. So far, e-health and e-education platforms exist. Both Vodacom and MTN are continuing to invest in telecommunications infrastructure. A project to connect 23 rural villages was completed by Vodacom at a cost of R34-million; a further R71-million will be spent on connecting another 86 villages. MTN allocated R600-million to protect its network and has rolled out an extensive programme of battery and generator support. A Samsung Innovation Campus has been initiated at Walter Sisulu University. To be run by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubators (CFERI), the campus programme aims to transfer IT skills and help graduates start their own businesses. There will be courses on coding, programming, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The provincial government has increased funding available from its fund for young entrepreneurs, Isiqalo Youth Fund. As of December 2022, the province has spent R203-million supporting 3 900 youth-owned enterprises. 9 EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2023/24

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