As South Africa continues to experience economic pressure, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) is grabbing the bull by its horns in a bid to enhance economic growth and to weather the storm.
On Monday, 8 December 2014, the Municipality held an economic development strategic session with representatives from the World Bank. The session was held to review and discuss how Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality could improve and strengthen its economic strategies. At the session the discussions also touched on strategies that the Municipality could use to form partnerships and cooperation with non-governmental entities in order to boost economic growth, which would in turn contribute to job creation. The session was also aimed at interacting with the World Bank representatives on best practices in economic development strategies across the world. Participating in the session were representatives from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Coega Industrial Development Zone and Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
Currently, the Municipality predominantly depends on rates and provincial and national government funding or allocations. Lack of education and skills, the high rate of unemployment, graduates relocating to other cities and poverty were some of the issues identified that needed urgent intervention if the City wanted to achieve a solid foundation for steady economic growth. At the session a number of possibilities and options the Municipality could use to fund infrastructural development supporting economic growth were also discussed.
World Bank representative, Dr Austin Kilroy, shared with the session key economic factors and strategies in respect of high performing cities around the world that were at various stages of development. He also outlined how Nelson Mandela Bay compared to other cities regarding key outcome indicators. Part of the presentation from the World Bank looked at the key factors in the local investment climate that the City could leverage. “Nelson Mandela Bay economy depends on the automotive industry. It is therefore critical that the government gives support to this industry to have stability and growth. The issue of skills development through partnerships with academic institutions becomes crucial,” said Dr Kilroy.
Following the session on Monday, World Bank representatives will remain in the City to have one-on-one sessions with stakeholders until Friday, December 12, 2014.
NMBM City Manager, Mpilo Mbambisa, who led the municipal delegation during the session, stated that the session was part of the efforts by the Municipality to think ahead and be pro-active. He added that the World Bank was one of the important entities in the world economy and that it was crucial for the Municipality to share experiences with them. “We are a City that is working towards being a serious global player in the world economy. Holding sessions with the World Bank and other global entities who are influential in the world economy becomes imperative,” said City Manager, Mbambisa.
“We have kicked off this exciting process that will help to develop a bright future for Nelson Mandela Bay and its people. This visit by the World Bank is not taken for granted; as a City we want to gain as much as possible from it. We will also continue to interact with them and draw on their knowledge and skills as we continue to take the City to greater heights,” the City Manager added.
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