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DESTINY AFRICA

FEATURE


Boost for

George DESTINY AFRICA FORGING AHEAD This multi-billion rand development, which entails a mega conference centre, hotel, waterfront apartments and eco centre, will transform the Garden Route into a global business and eco-tourism destination. By Ian Armitage 2

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Destiny Africa FEATURE

D

estiny Africa is one of Africa’s single biggest private development projects. It is highly ambitious and aims to transform the Garden Route into a global business and eco-tourism destination. The R28 billion project will integrate world-class conferencing, a ‘knowledge city’, business-park, university cluster, medical and biosphere tourism and eco-residential and housing developments. “In all 2.5 million square metres of bulk rights have been approved for the project,” explains Fred Brown, the long-time project director, who has recently been promoted to CEO. It will ensure substantial developmental activity for Western Cape, he says. “It is a project of huge scale and ambition. Zoning approval was granted in 2009. The 437-hectare site is on the Garden Route within George.” Brown adds that although Destiny Africa was affected by the world economic slump, it was definitely still going ahead. “The recession has had an impact, but we are not deterred. The phase we are in now is that we are busy with rolling out the financial roadmap,” he says. Any starting date is still provisional, but the processes are being forged ahead with, with hopes that civil work could begin as early as 2012. “The financing of the project had slowed down as a result of the slump but the development, which entails a mega conference centre, hotel, waterfront apartments and eco centre is still being rolled out,” Brown says. “Importantly, all the approvals are in place and we have a letter of approval from the Western Cape provincial government supporting it. The civil work isn’t far off. We can start putting in the roads and

infrastructure during the later part of next year, which is a positive step forward.” Destiny Africa has helped George municipality with the upgrading of the Outeniqua Waste Water Works, making a positive contribution towards the local water situation. Brown says that “certain people” had put a question mark over large developments asking how they could be justified when George’s water storage capacity is inadequate to provide in its current needs. “Businesses and communities within the George area are aware that change is imperative,” Brown explains. “The project has been welcomed in anticipation of job creation for locals. It has the potential to uplift the social wellbeing of the communities in the area and it will contribute hugely to local tourism, local industry, SME development, and foreign exchange earnings through international conferencing.“ The main beneficiaries will be residents in poor areas like Thembalethu and Pacaltzdorp, he says. “Potential is huge,” Brown adds. “Even conservative projections envisage the creation of an estimated 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next decade. “A major driver and lead element in the overall vision of Destiny Africa is MICE or the meetings, incentives, conferences and expos,” he continues. “Destiny Africa also creates a platform to promote the Garden Route as the world’s premier eco-tourism destination. The Garden Route packs the most eco-diversity into the smallest land area on the planet. The potential goes untapped... we aim to change that.” Destiny Africa was initiated by a local consortium of business people via Khama Investments and KDMC, which was formed

Businesses and communities within the George area are aware that change is imperative

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by Thys Pretorius, while land and development rights were obtained in partnership with Rand Merchant Bank. Brown has been heavily involved since the beginning. “The development company Destiny Africa Investment Holdings was set up to drive the project,” he says. Destiny Africa could be crucial to South Africa’s long-term strategy to become globally competitive and globally attractive as an investment destination and magnet for international skills, he adds. Brown explains: “International experience has proved that job growth and the growth of national economies can be triggered by using an ecosphere catalyst at the right location.” Successes include California’s Silicon Valley, Singapore, Shanghai, Hyderabad, Cancun and Cairns in Australia.

“We want to build a better South Africa, an empowered South Africa,” says Brown. “Destiny Africa aims to create a receptive environment integrating learning, business, lifestyle and eco-components - a smart city designed to attract smart people and smart business. That’s the Destiny Africa proposal.” Brown believes that business confidence has returned and investment is picking up. That said, property is still not see as a sound investment, although perceptions are changing. “This development provides a good investment and we are telling investors all about it,” Brown says. “There are other projects like this you could invest in, but we think this represents the best opportunity.

Even conservative projections envisage the creation of an estimated 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next decade

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Destiny Africa FEATURE

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“The Western Cape provincial government has been creating the right stimulation for the economy, to encourage investment; they obviously play an important role in the success of this scheme,” he continues. “They have given us great support. George has great potential. Obviously, I would like to see more support, but that is only normal, and we mustn’t forget the provincial government has already approved the development and is committed to its success.” Brown welcomed recent proposals to create incentives to make George a more investor friendly town - an initiative touted at the George municipality’s Economic Summit. “We need such a driver to help stimulate the economy,” he concludes. “It is great to see things taking off. This will be a first for Africa.” To learn more about Destiny Africa visit www.destinyafrica.co.za – this is not active at present. END

WINDHOEK

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Tel (044) 382 7903 | Fax (044) 382 7903 | pietmor@mweb.co.za

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DESTINY AFRICA FEATURE