New Nelson Mandela Bay Maritime Cluster chair says Eastern Cape has growth potential
Newly appointed NMB Maritime Cluster chair Faisal Sultan believes the Eastern Cape is poised to help generate much-needed economic growth in a post-Covid-19 economy.
Sultan said he was eager to play his part as leader of “a team of brilliant and well experienced individuals from the public sector, business sector, academia and civil society”. He said the province had huge maritime potential thanks largely to its two world-class ports, demonstrated automatic excellence, and a supply of skilled personnel. “Strong coastwise and hinterland logistics connections support the multitude of integrated value chains that exist within NMB, with first world tourism facilities, accommodation, education and transport infrastructure, all providing the ideal living environment,” Sultan said in response to SABBEX queries.
He said despite SA Reserve Bank projections of a 0,2% economic contraction in 2020 the local economy was slated to start recovering next year, with growth of 1,6% forecast for 2022. Covid-19 had exposed the local economy’s dependency on trade with China, he added: “The scope of Covid-19-induced economic disruption on the SA economy is wide. In particular, as China is South Africa’s largest trading partner, SA is exposed to any disruption in China’s import and export activities.”
“The NMB cluster is based and dependant on maritime activities, so, despite the pandemic’s devastating impact, the global economy needs to keep running. The SA government will have to strike a careful balance in preserving public health without compromising the country’s capacity to participate in international maritime trade,” said Sultan who has 40 years experience in the maritime port environment.
Looking ahead he said he would like to see the speedy implementation of international maritime cluster ‘best practise’ to formalise linkages between the different sectors of the maritime economy.
The NMB Maritime cluster was founded in 2012 to represent the broad interests of the region’s maritime economy and create linkages with other regional and national organisations.