Key Points:

  • Durban has a positive economic record. Despite the province’s political image and its economic dependencies on the rest of the country, it has recently outperformed most of South Africa’s other metropolitan areas economically.
  • Developmentally, Durban faces some daunting challenges. These are partly similar to those facing the rest of the metropolitan South Africa, but in some respects, they are more trenchant. With about half of its people living in informal settlements, the ratio of un-serviced shacks to formally serviced areas is the worst of any larger metropolitan areas.
  • In Durban, the emphasis on finding new land for low-income families is being replaced by a concern for finding the right combination of upgrading existing settlements; limiting land invasions; and providing new low-cost housing schemes. Infrastructure is key to achieving the correct balance.
  • Durban’s port continues to expand its lead over other South African ports in terms of volumes of cargo handled. While Durban does not attract as many foreign tourists as Cape Town, it remains South Africa’s premier domestic tourist destination.
  • Many other cities have turned market forces to their advantage, and found a successful niche in the global economy. Durban can do so, too. This will require greater determination, strong leadership, and a unifying vision that will make all of Durban’s people aware of the huge benefits of living in a world-class city.

Press release: Durban: South Africa’s global competitor?

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