Gauteng Provincial Administration's Proposed Development of Mega-City & Airport
On August 30, CCA Chairman Dr. Jeff Sturchio hosted a delegation led by Gauteng (South Africa) Provincial Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) Tasneem Motara for a meeting to raise opportunities to strengthen U.S.-South African trade and investment presented by the development of the Vaal River Mega-City and Airport project, which enjoys the financial backing by Citi. The meeting was supported by Prosper Africa and it’s Tech for Trade Alliance, and attended by Prosper Africa Chief of Staff, Mr. Michael Jordan. Attended by approximately three dozen CCA members and Tech for Trade Alliance partners, the briefing stoked interest in an innovative program of development in the province.
After an in-depth overview by MEC Motara of the breadth and depth of economic and business activity in Gauteng Province and the provincial government’s strong interest in strengthening U.S. private sector investment relationships, Mr. Xola Sithole, CEO of the Vaal Special Economic Zone provided a detailed presentation on development of a new Mega City and international airport and areas in which American expertise and investment is desired. Noting that “The Vaal” refers to the Sedibeng District Municipality, which has a history of industrial development in mining and steel manufacturing, Mr. Sithole underscored the goal of developing sustainable re-development and economic growth by embracing a green economy / industry vision for business development.
Specifically, the objectives of the project include promoting: green energy-fueled re-industrialization in low-carbon manufacturing and renewable energy production; food, agriculture, and agro-industries value chains; gateway logistics networks (air, road, rail, river); development of the blue economy and tourism sector; and building a “Smart City” and “Aerotropolis” to drive regional development. Ultimately, Mr. Sithole explained, the goal is to develop strong linkages between the township and rural economies in various value chains that the Vaal Special Economic Zone will develop and strengthen.
Dr. Sturchio noted that the project and programs described, especially reforms to business domestication and ownership requirements, represents a “an important breakthrough…as it aligns economic goals with opportunities for business investment.” CCA member company Citi’s Senior Vice President for Global Government Affairs Jahaan Johnson noted that Citi’s commitment of more than $70 million of financing for the project is intended to be a catalyst for investment aimed at long term economic growth and sustainability.
The discussion then centered on incentives provided by the government, particularly in the area of energy generation and facilitating business relationships and any required licensing. Mr. Vincent Spera, the U.S. Consul General in Johannesburg, South Africa who accompanied MEC Motara’s delegation, emphasized the readiness of his team to facilitate engagement by U.S. businesses seeking to increase or launch new operations. MEC Motara for her part underscored her governments coordination of engagements with the U.S. Consulate General team, and expressed her deep appreciation for the support received from the Consulate for this trip and more broadly.
The Gauteng governmental delegation’s visit to the United States was facilitated by the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa, in coordination with Prosper Africa.