Funds secured to promote Limpopo economic growthMTHULISI SIBANDA in Polokwane, Limpopo
POLOKWANE, (CAJ News) – THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), a national development finance institution, in investing significantly in Limpopo to enable the province maximize on its economic potential.
Speaking in Polokwane during a tour Brand South Africa organised for media recently to assess the competitive strength of the province, IDC Regional Manager, Kgampi Bapela, said the organisation was upbeat at the region’s economic prospects.
IDC has allocated R9 billion to finance projects in the country’s northernmost province of more than 5 million people, and the fifth-biggest in size.
“The funding highlights our passion for small and medium enterprises,” Bapela said of the funding that covers five years.
Bapela noted there were vast opportunities in such sectors as agriculture, mining and tourism.
“Mining is one of the pillars of growth in the province. In terms of that potential, Limpopo is like Johannesburg was some 80 years ago,” he said.
Mining contributes to over a fifth of the provincial economy. Limpopo has the largest platinum deposit in South Africa while the Waterberg Coalfield, the eastern extension of Botswana’s Mmamabula coalfields, is estimated to contain 40 percent of South Africa’s coal reserves.
Bapela earmarked tourism as another key sector to drive economic growth, pointing out a multimillion-Rand hotel, funded partly by IDC and operated by an international hospitality group, would soon resume operations in Polokwane.
Tsogo Sun, the local gaming, leisure and entertainment group, is also buying the building they have been leasing in the town.
“There is immense potential in tourism, also considering 75 percent of the Kruger National Park is actually in Limpopo and not Mpumalanga. The province also contributes over 70 percent of the game hunting industry,” said Bapela.
The province is rich in wildlife, which gives it an edge in attracting tourists. Both the private and public sectors are investing in tourism development.
There is concern however while the province is an agricultural hub, a lack of value-addition on agricultural produce impacted on revenue generation. Hence the IDC’s priority on growing the agro-processing industry.
“Limpopo produces a significant portion of the country’s fruit and vegetable output but unfortunately it is not processed here. Up to 80 percent of the produce in Johannesburg and Pretoria is from Limpopo.
“Despite that, Limpopo pays more for the product and the quality is not so fresh because of the transportation of the processed fruit from Gauteng back to the province for the local market,” said Bapela.
– CAJ News
Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=15048