On Monday, 3 November 2014, the Economic Development and Investment Promotions Unit (EDIPU) in partnership with the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) hosted the South African Port Cities and Coastal Towns Learning Exchange at The Elangeni Hotel, Durban. This learning exchange was held in an effort to allow for deep engagement and discussion for different sectors to unpack the potential of the new concept the ‘Blue Economy’. The Learning Exchange was chaired by Dr Ajiv Maharaj, Deputy Head of EDIPU.

The session was officially opened by The Speaker, Honourable Cllr Logie Naidoo, who emphasised that the port is the life blood of the City’s Economy. Cllr Naidoo further went on to add that “the initiative of our Government through Operation Phakisa is an initiative to use the Blue Economy to grow our economy’’. According to The Speaker, the Learning Exchange will ensure mutual benefits and a way to ensure growth and development for all.
The Learning Exchange was also graced by our City Manager Mr Sibusiso Sithole. The City Manager highlighted that with the modern economy one of the most important drivers is around transport and logistics. The City Manager further went on to add that, “Ports are still critical as engines of the economy. If Johannesburg has gold, our gold is the Port”.
One of the key note addresses was delivered by Professor Trevor Jones from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Prof Jones highlighted the role of Host Cities in the development and success of a Port. In this case, key representatives envisaged the role the City of Durban plays as the Host City to the Port of Durban. A further key note address was delivered by Dr Andrew Mather, Acting Head of the Engineering Department.
In support of the Port Cities initiative the PEO of SALGA-KZN, Mr Sabelo Gwala emphasised that there is broad consensus around the world that local citizens contribute to what is happening locally. This alluded to the fact that the success of the Durban Port is also due to the support of local citizens.
Following the Learning Exchange, participants and international delegates convened to share and learn in the 14th International World Port Cities Conference which took place from 4 – 6 November 2014 at The Elangeni Hotel.
Click here to access presentations from the event.