Free State province a growing economy

Free State province a growing economy

The Free State province is a growing economy led by its Premier Mr Mxolisi Dukwana. The province recently attracted more than R81 billion in its investment conference from investors from the African continent and from BRICS member states and other countries from the global west and east.

The Free State, though plagued by high unemployment, more jobs are being created in the various sectors in the province. The province also has emerging sectors that will boost the GDP of the Free State and play an important role in creating more jobs and eradicate poverty.

According to Premier Dukwana, the economy recovery rate of the province is at 1.5% up from -0. 1 between the period of 2019 and 2022. The MEC for Finance Gadija Brown says the provincial economic outlook is forecasted to grow in real terms by 0.1% to 1,1% in 2024 before rising to 2.1% in 2025.

Brown says the growth is expected to come from the diverse sectors such as Community Services, Finance, Trade, Manufacturing and Mining, which are expected to contribute sectoral growth of nearly 29.6 percent, 19.5 percent, 12.9 percent, 10.2 percent, and 9.8 percent respectively.

Though the province is largely agricultural, the sector’s performance is minimal compared to the above sectors; agriculture and transport are forecasted to contribute growth of about 6.8 percent and 6 percent respectively to the provincial growth, whilst the Electricity sector is anticipated to only produce a growth of merely 2 percent.

Premier Mxolisi Dukwana says the province is on course to revitilise the agricultural sector, and more specifically the fruit industry. The Provincial Government and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development led by MEC Saki Mokoena, made a R10 million disbursement to Remmoho Agri-Investment Project. The project is set to create 400 jobs over a three year period resulting in the construction of a juice manufacturing plant targeting the export market.

Through the initiative of the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) led by MEC Thabo Meeko; the Free State hosted an investment conference that attracted delegates and investors from the United States of America (USA), South Korea; Sri Lanka, the BRICS member states China and Russia, and African states including Angola, Ethopia.

The conference managed to attract pledges worth R81.5 billion, particularly in the renewable energy, green mobility and retail sectors.

Dukwana says the discovery of natural gas in December 2019 by Renergen in Virginia has to date led to an investment of more than R1,2 billion and plans to invest another R18 billion to expand this project is underway.

The Free State province also hosted a Free State Energy Security Indaba during November last year, where more investors were enticed to invest in the province. Work is being done to implement the commitments and Premier Mxolisi Dukwana says the provincial government is in a process of unlocking over R100 billion of energy investment pipeline.

Roads play a pivotal role in any economy, as the Free State province is at the center of the country bordering six other provinces and one country, the province is at a vantage point as billions pass through the province every day. Road infrastructure is important for the transportation of goods and tourism. To this, Dukwana says they will not sleep on the opportunity.

The Department of Community Safety, Roads and Transport headed by MEC Maqueen Letsoha Mathae invested R1,993 billion in upgrading and maintaining roads as part of Township Revitalization Programme and roads maintenance. This will help in facilitating trade, connect people and make the province look attractive to both foreign and local investors.

Some of the roads in the province have been handed over to SANRAL for maintenance and to help improve the conditions of the roads in the province. This brings relief to local farmers who had to dig deep into their pockets just to get their produce to the market due to bad road conditions.


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