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Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Through targeted trade and investment promotion and facilitation, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) drives innovative and sustainable growth, as well as socioeconomic development, in the Gauteng city region.

Sound investment facilitation reduces the cost and difficulty of doing business by removing red tape and regulatory bottlenecks. This, in turn, empowers the private sector and entrepreneurship by igniting the strategic development and social transformation of the region – a cluster of cities and towns centred on Gauteng that make up SA’s economic heartland.

The GGDA and its subsidiaries such as The Innovation Hub and the Automotive Industry Development Centre are guided by the provincial government’s economic development strategy to drive transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation in the Gauteng economy. With a focus on socioeconomic yield and job creation in the investments it facilitates, the agency takes a consultative approach in engaging strategic sectors through the Gauteng Consultative Business Forum.

The GGDA recognises that Gauteng is an economy in transition, which is redefining itself from a secondary services economy to a tertiary services and knowledge-driven economy. It focuses on subcategories of the manufacturing sector such as the automotive sector, mineral beneficiation, capital equipment, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, and tertiary services including business process outsourcing, ITC services, tourism and the knowledge economy.

By engaging these sectors and countries such as Germany, India, the UK and the Nordic nations, the GGDA has created opportunities for Gauteng-based businesses to grow, export and bring much-needed investment into the region.

The agency has begun to understand the structural challenges faced by various sectors at micro-firm level, including the negative effect of imports on jobs and industrial capabilities.

The role of the GGDA’s subsidiaries

Established to spur the development of smart industries (high-technology sectors) in Gauteng, The Innovation Hub is the first science and technology park, by international standards, in Southern Africa. Its role is to be a catalyst for innovation and a key knowledge-economy driver, in line with the Gauteng growth and development strategy.

The Automotive Industry Development Centre manages the Automotive Supplier Park and provides services to the automotive sector through automotive-investment facilitation, skills development and training, incubation programmes and supply-chain development.

The Industrial Development Zone is a special economic zone established to support industrial development in Gauteng with a specific focus on mineral beneficiation and export-oriented, value-added industry, concentrated around OR Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni.

GGDA Holdings has two teams tasked with implementing the province’s strategy: the Trade, Investment and Regulatory Enablement (TIRE) and the Enterprise Project Management Office.

The TIRE sub-programme facilitates investment that supports the modernisation and reindustrialisation of Gauteng’s economy and increases global trade from the region.

To meet this mandate, TIRE operates a one-stop shop, under the banner of InvestSA Gauteng, to increase the ease of doing business for Gauteng-bound investors. The centre has been in operation as the Gauteng Investment Centre since 2014 and was renamed InvestSA Gauteng in April 2018. Its services range from home affairs-related enquiries and company registration to assistance with expediting environmental licences and access to land for investors.  

According to the World Economic Forum, it takes 37 days to register a business in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics), which is uncompetitive when compared with the global average of 21 days. In addition, an investor goes through an average of nine procedures when opening a business within the Brics bloc, compared to a global average of fewer than six.

Since 2014–15, the GGDA’s TIRE function has facilitated 115 investments worth R10.1bn in the Gauteng city region (R7bn-worth of foreign direct investment and R3.1bn-worth of domestic direct investment). This has resulted in the creation of 14,001 jobs in Gauteng, comprising 6,803 contract positions and 7,198 permanent jobs. It has helped 912 enterprises through the export-readiness programme and assisted 147 Gauteng-based firms with trade deals worth R1.8bn collectively.

The GGDA remains committed to supporting private-sector investment into the Gauteng city region economy and believes this can be achieved by addressing the following:

  • removing administrative inefficiencies across the three spheres of government;
  • promoting the Gauteng city region as a preferred investment destination;
  • promoting export development;
  • reducing the cost of doing business;
  • building partnerships between the government and the private sector; and
  • exploring Gauteng-specific investment incentives

This article was paid for by the Gauteng department of economic development.

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