googleffee3c45d2312bd3.html

African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  

Cllr Zanele Gumede EThekwini Mayor.

On behalf of eThekwini residents, it is my pleasure to extend our warmest welcome to all delegates to the African Renaissance Festival 2017. The theme “Entrepreneurs of Africa” is closely aligned to the key strategies and priorities of the eThekwini Municipality. Government has identified poverty, inequality and unemployment as the main challenges that face youth in our society today. Currently, the city has invested substantially, to the tune of R624 million, on current projects like the Point Waterfront development and increasing our partnerships on other projects like the Centrum site attached to the Workshop Shopping Centre, the Warwick Precinct Berea Station Mall and the large King Edward redevelopment node. This investment forms part of the radical economic transformation plan being rolled out by the city to provide opportunities for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises as well as emerging businesses to share in Durban’s economic growth. 

EThekwini Municipality has ring-fenced more than R3 billion to ensure small and medium businesses benefit from these catalytic projects over the next five years. It’s not enough to give an SMME a contract if they cannot sustain themselves financially to compete with big businesses that have the financial muscle to purchase materials and other resources for a project. To demonstrate our commitment to youth development and empowerment, we have set up a Youth Office which facilitates all youth programmes in our City. 

Our investment as a city in the coming five years will also be used to drive the economic transformation plan through an oversight role in the skills development and financial needs of businesses that are given opportunities. More so the City is interested in developing the skills levels of our young people so that they can become productive future employees especially in technical skills, which are in demand. We will facilitate the training of 10 000 youth as artisans over the next three years. We have partnered with local universities in training programmes to ensure we have the skills required for economic growth. 

We have also introduced the Mayoral Student Financial Relief Fund, which offers bursaries to learners who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure access to education. This fund provides deserving learners with registration fees so that they can access education, which constitutes lifetime empowerment of a young person. We have also participated in promoting the uptake of international bursaries as we believe that these opportunities should not be overlooked. EThekwini is serious about developing and empowering our young people. We want to partner with the youth to help them realise their dreams.