Free State can double its GDP

Free State can double its GDP

Government departmental heads and key industry players from international shores and on the African continent gathered under one roof at the Free State Investment Conference in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, 27 February 2024, to discuss the prospects of investing in the province.

During her address, the Deputy Minister for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) Ms Nomalungelo Gina, said the Free State investment conference is happening at a time where government is trying to get the country’s economy back to pre-COVID levels. She further applauded the province for its efforts to revive and build an inclusive economy.

Gina said there is a glimmer of hope as the Free State is on a positive trajectory and has great potential in growing its economy as it is bordered by six provinces and one country, Lesotho.

“Free State province carry’s a huge potential to be a small population province with a highly industrialised key regions that could almost double the provincial GDP percentage contribution to the national economy,” said the Deputy Minister.

Further zooming in into the micro-economics of the province and exploring its potential; Gina said things need to be done right with a sense of urgency. While there are brilliant provincial plans, Gina says execution is the biggest element in large provincial plans that are catalytic projects to stimulate the provincial economy.

“This province Premier remains one of the leading regions on the agricultural products, and this province remains number one on maze, wheat, cattle and sheep when it comes to agricultural products. We have well established commercial farmers with a pedigree in this province that produces well standards on agricultural goods,” said Nomalungelo Gina.

The Free State borders amongst others two of the economic hubs of the country, Gauteng and Durban; Gina said there is economic potential in the corridor passing through the Free State linking the three provinces. She said conversations have been ongoing regarding the Durban, Free State, Gauteng corridor.

“The strategic focus in the first instance, to building economic levers in the Thabo Mofutsanyane District is more than urgent as part of the actualisation of the business activities of this corridor,” she said.

She said the corridor can attract more investors into the province, as such, conversations need to be sped up and concluded, bring Durban on board and allow investors to invest into the corridor.

According to Gina, The Free State has huge potential with the discovery of natural gas in Welkom and the multibillion gas project in Virginia by Regen. She said Maluti-A-Phofung can become an economic hub for the province as it is a manufacturing region and the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) need to be supported.

Furthermore, the Botshabelo Industrial Park has great potential and must be supported as well.

The Free State Premier Mr Mxolisi Dukwana outlined the plans and economic potential the province has, which will make it worth investing for investors. He said the province is a sleeping giant but it is waking up now.

Dukwana told the investors that there are diverse industries and some new with the discovery of helium gas in the province, with fibre cables passing through the province; a growing agricultural sector, the economic potential at the Vaal, renewable energy, the air space industry and airport node development; all are investment opportunities for both local and foreign investors.

Dukwana said for the Free State to successfully industrialise, it will need a secure and reliable power supply, as such; it is investing in a solar power plant. He said as an agricultural province, water supply is very important as well in a water scarce country.

“This province was paralysed by a number of other issues, but as we say, we are now awakening this giant because we know that that this is a province that is capable of pulling South Africa, and ensuring that South Africa becomes great. At the heart of this greatness lies this giant, the Free State and it has been asleep for a very long time, that is why South Africa its economy has been growing the way it has been growing at a slow pace, but we are awakening this giant we can assure you that; it will unlock so much potential in the country and develop our country in a way that was never imagined,” said Premier Mxolisi Dukwana.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *