An Organic Approach ~The Southern Cape Corridor

The default approach to economic growth using corridor development zones focuses on international logistics.  The logic is that only once goods can be moved efficiently, will trade occur.  Here are two references to this definition of ‘corridor development’:

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_corridor
https://www.adb.org/publications/economic-corridor-development-and-what-it-can-achieve-in-asia-subregions

If we used this ‘mega’ definition to corridor development, consider the time and capital that would be required to achieve international standards for our Southern Cape Corridor (S.C.C.) in terms of:

  • dredging of the Mossel Bay harbour to allow entry to vessels of greater draught,
  • widening and deepening of the entrance channel to Mossel Bay harbour,
  • upgrading of handling infrastructure for commercial goods at Mossel Bay harbour,
  • the building of a second 2000m+ runway at George Airport,
  • upgrading of cargo handling facilities at George Airport, and
  • region-wide upgrades to road and rail infrastructure.

These projects would require Public-Private-Partnerships on many billions (US$), with multiple participants, working diligently over at least a decade.  I argue that a more conservative approach, founded on the pragmatics of clichés like ‘Small is Beautiful’, ‘Slowly Does It’, and ‘Cutting one’s coat according to the cloth’, will reduce business risk, allow for greater, sector-wide participation, and contain the final costs to be borne by the Garden Route community.  Motivated by our context and constraints, an unexpected, working illustration of this more appropriate definition to regional corridor development can be found at:

http://www.kzncogta.gov.za/Flagships/CorridorDevelopment.aspx

Five, enterprise-driven, self-contained, sustainable phases could be used to develop our S.C.C. along the organic growth path, once all preparation, planning and initial capital raising have been concluded.  These phases could be as follows:

PHASE ONE:  The Energy Opportunity

Aims:

  • to reduce the cost of doing business and living in the Southern Cape
  • to increase energy supply capacity for further phases of the S.C.C.
  • Energy Phase Community Bond launched
  • learnings fed into Phase Two

PHASE TWO: The Logistics Opportunity

Aims:

  • to improve the efficiency of moving goods into, of storing and of moving goods out of the Southern Cape
  • to begin testing the proposed locations for logistics nodes within the S.C.C.
  • Logistics Phase Community Bond launched
  • learnings fed into Phase Three

PHASE THREE:  The Timber Opportunity

Aims

  • to attract a greater percentage of the capital available to this sector for application within our S.C.C.  This will require strategies to deepen and broaden the timber industry.
  • a national and international branding and marketing campaign to communicate the benefits of operating a timber business and value-add businesses in the S.C.C.
  • Timber Phase Community Bond launched
  • learnings fed into Phase Four

PHASE FOUR:  The Agriculture Opportunity

Aims:

  • to increase production, improve quality, and increase sales/consumption of locally produced agricultural products within S.C.C. markets and communities.  This could be achieved by establishing a Working Group with existing traders/producers in the region.
  • to begin marketing identified arable land for expansion of the agricultural opportunity
  • Agriculture Phase Community Bond launched
  • learnings fed into Phase Five

PHASE FIVE:  The Engineering, Industry and Construction Opportunity

Aims:

  • to build a business case for competitive advantages to be used to encourage and/or attract ‘best-practice’ existing businesses within this sector to expand and/or establish
  • operations within the S.C.C.
  • Engineering Phase Community Bond launched
  • to begin branding and marketing the S.C.C. as a functional development zone

The phases I have outlined above are really only flags in the sand, simply points of reference from which to begin our planning.  As they say: “You have to start somewhere!”  I look forward to your comments, ideas and critique of this Southern Cape Corridor concept.

Pjm

0823307184

southcapecorridor@gmail.com

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