African Renaissance Conference  24- 26 May 2018




    Welcome Message by Mr Senzo Mchunu, The Honourable Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and Patron of the African Renaissance Festival 



    The Province of KwaZulu-Natal is proud to host delegates to the 17th African Renaissance Festival in Durban: Entrepreneurs of Africa. We look forward to engaging in the conference proceedings, which are highly relevant to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.

    People are the Province’s most valuable asset. However, amongst the current challenges facing us are youth unemployment and the slow rate of black economic empowerment.  These issues are directly related to poverty, food insecurity, substance abuse and criminal activity.

    The importance and positive contribution of entrepreneurs and an entrepreneurial culture in the economic and social development of KwaZulu-Natal to counter these problems must be stressed. Entrepreneurs generate and bring to life ideas through the development of new technologies, products and services.  There is a need for entrepreneurs to establish more successful small and medium business as they are the largest contributors to new employment opportunities.

    In order to facilitate entrepreneurship, ease of access to education to acquire skills and knowledge must be provided. A highly skilled workforce will improve the global socio-economic status of KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, a strong focus is required on scarce skills such as engineering, science and technology, accounting, information technology, agriculture, health and social services as well as those specific to the maritime sector.

    Consequently, the Office of the Premier is developing new ways of doing things that emphasize a  pragmatic approach and measurable implementation. Drawing on the National Development Plan, KwaZulu-Natal will use the Provincial Growth and Development Plan to build an inclusive economy that creates job opportunities for millions of our people.

    The newly established KwaZulu-Natal Small Business Development Agency and the Department of Small Business Development will serve as vehicles to refocus our efforts on building and growing small businesses.

    .In addition, the Office of the Premier has decided to take a number of initiatives on youth development in the next five years. These include:

    -      Increasing the intake of youth in the Public and Private Employment Programmes;

    -      Expanding learning and skills development opportunities;

    -      Assisting youth to fight social ills;

    -      Supporting youth to participate in strategic sectors of the economy;

    -      Youth leadership development.

    The Chief Directorate on Youth Development in the Office of the Premier will co-ordinate all youth development initiatives in the province to ensure synergies. It will focus on research on youth development and promote the interests of young people in general.

    Many opportunities are available through skills programmes, bursaries, and learnerships and we urge our youth to take advantage of these local programmes as well as the many on offer from foreign governmental counterparts  and institutions.

    We will endeavour to work with the international community and the entire African continent to ensure that we create a skilled and motivated workforce that will benefit KwaZulu-Natal’s future generations.