Northern Cape Business 2022-23

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SPECIAL FEATURE Investment opportunities An Investment Conference held in 2019 showcased a number of initiatives being taken by the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape to attract investors and to make the experience of investing easier. This was followed in 2022 by another investment conference with a specific focus on mining. The Northern Cape Investment Booklet provides a comprehensive overview of the province’s assets and advantages, together with a list of investable projects in a wide range of sectors. Key projects are linked to broader spatial and sectoral plans that play to the province’s strengths. Among these high-impact projects are: • De Aar Rail Logistics Hub • Kathu Industrial Park • Upington Industrial Park • Namakwa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) • Boegoebaai Port and Green Hydrogen Cluster • Northern Cape Metals Industrial Cluster. • A multi-nodal corridor is envisaged for the province, running from the Atlantic coast to the commodity-rich Gamagara mining corridor in the vicinity of Kuruman.

Forum (NCIF) points to the way ahead for the province. The NCIF intends to bring together academics, government and business leaders, civil society and labour, to consider the impact of innovation and technology, and to work out how best they can be harnessed to the maximum advantage of all citizens. The project is led by Sol Plaatje University with support from the National Department of Science and Innovation and the Technology Localisation I mplementation Unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). With the location within the Northern Cape of one of the world’s greatest technological marvels, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope, there is scope for young scientists and engineers to dream. Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley has a strong suit in teacher training, but an expanding curriculum speaks both to being able to exploit the SKA link through subjects such as ICT and data science and an appreciation of the past via heritage studies and paleo-sciences. The university’s location in an arid region means that future programmes will be developed to study agriculture in waterstressed conditions. Building on the campus, which will eventually cover 190 000m², is expected to continue for another decade.

Invest SA, through the National Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) has established a provincial One Stop Shop for investors, lowering the cost of investing and helping to iron out any bureaucratic delays. Another angle for attracting investors to the province is to improve infrastructure. This is being done in terms of roadworks (with the South African National Roads Agency, SANRAL), waterworks and information and communications technology (ICT). A range of organisations are working on bringing the province up to date with the latest in ICT. This includes the National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) which is paying for bursaries for students in data science at Sol Plaatje University and training electrical engineers and fibre optic technicians. The DSI is a key participant in the SKA programme. The Northern Cape is investigating the creation of a state construction company to take on up to 30% of infrastructure projects in the province. The creation of the Northern Cape Innovation

The economy Mining and agriculture, the traditional pillars of the provincial economy, remain important. Both sectors continue to contribute (despite fluctuating iron-ore prices and periodic droughts) but both sectors are showing potential to expand into new and productive terrain.

Central Campus Square, Sol Plaatje University. Credit: SPU