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Investment projects in the Eastern Cape
2008-02-14
Brief:The ECDC(Eastern Cape Development Corporation) is involved in a number of investment projects in the Eastern Cape across a number of sectors and at varying levels of economic and social involvement.

Projects that the ECDC is proudly associated with are varied. They include:

A blue berry project in Stutterheim which is in an advanced stage of establishment. The R45-million project will employ 5 000 people at maturity. This will provide a valuable catalyst for further economic growth in this small town.

Along with the Department of Agriculture, ECDC is working on reviving the pineapple industry. ECDC is considering co-funding an initiative with other funders including the DOA that will result in a R264-million no-waste pineapple agri-processing operation in Bathurst, thereby not only securing the existing 1 500 farm jobs but increasing these as farmers regain confidence in the 100-year-old industry and start planting pineapples again.

ECDC has played a strategic financial management role in the development of the Ugie timber cluster and, more specifically, the Steinhof investment. A further R30-million funding will be channelled through the ECDC for municipal infrastructure.

ECDC and CSIR have co-funded studies on how to create a waste-free Agave industry by extracting fibre from the plant thereby creating marketable products and, at the same time, fully utilising the plant. Currently the Agave industry in the Karoo is focused on producing tequila, which only utilises a small portion of the plant. The remaining fibre can be used to create paper and paper products. Graaff-Reinet has been identified as a possible site for a pilot fibre extraction project to make these products.

ECDC, with other stakeholders, continues to search for economically viable value,add opportunities for Kaolin and it continues to seek opportunities for increased sustainable economic activity along the Wild Coast which could include mariculture and aquaculture.

With 2010 almost upon us ECDC is working with a number of stakeholders including the Department of Roads and Transport and DBSA to ensure our province derives maximum benefit from the FIFA Soccer World Cup. ECDC has funded a study with DoRT on rail based tourism whereby rail corridors will be identified for tourism development.  ECDC and DBSA have funded a private sector a feasibility study on the possible establishment of a number of hotels along the N2 thereby developing small towns.

ECDC will be working with relevant departments to ensure that the growth potential in aquaculture and mariculture (marine and freshwater fish farming) is harnessed. The national department of Economic Affairs and Tourism announced late last year a R100-million rand allocation for mariculture projects in each coastal province.

Transport linkages remain a critical element to economic development and the ECDC, ELIDZ and BCM have established an initiative known as the Mayoral Steering Committee to drive the East London Port Expansion.

The mobilisation of support around the proposed expansion of the East London Port continues to be a priority, particularly in light of its envisaged positive impact on the lives of people living in East London itself and the rural hinterland, including the former Transkei and Ciskei areas.


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