Doing Business in KwaZulu-Natal

  • Economic Overview

Economic Overview

KwaZulu-Natal has the second largest economy in the country. 

It contributes some 16% towards the country's GDP. Manufacturing, trade, business services and transport communications are the largest and strongest growth sectors of the provincial economy, together with aluminium conversion, fabricated products, automotive components, conversion (emphasis on export-oriented investment), electronics, engineering, metal works, petrochemicals and wood products. 

This province offers a highly competitive advantage in capital-intensive manufacturing, transport, storage and communications, as well as finance and business services. It is also well positioned in agriculture, forestry and fishing, agricultural resource-intensive manufacturing and in the tourism and accommodation sectors. 

Boasting the highest export propensity and the highest level of industrialisation in the country, the economic structure in KwaZulu-Natal is based on a large manufacturing sector in which growth is driven by the paper and paper products industry, ferroalloys (such as aluminium) and other chemicals. Further significant sub-sectors include motor vehicles and component manufacture, printing and publishing, food and beverage production, non-electrical machinery, iron and steel, wood furniture, textiles and clothing.

KwaZulu-Natal's emergence as a hub of industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa may be attributed to its unmatched natural resource endowments, exceptional productive capacity, well-developed first-world infrastructure and advantageous coastal location. Economic activity is concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay, with the coastal belts utilised for sugar cane plantations and sub-tropical fruit and vegetables. 

Two of Africa's primary seaports are located in KwaZulu-Natal, while the world-class Dube Trade Port - home to King Shaka International Airport - provide a key competitive advantage and ensure the province's importance for economic growth, effectively repositioning the country to increase its share of the global market.

Main cities and towns: Durban, Ulundi, Eshowe, Newcastle, Richards Bay
Capital: Pietermaritzburg
Premier: Mr S Zikalala
Population: 11.29 million (2019)
Languages: isiZulu: 77.8%, English: 13.2%, isiXhosa: 3.4%, Afrikaans: 1.6%, Other: 4.0%
Population density: 119 per square kilometre
Economically active population: 3.47 million (Q1:2019)
Area: 94,361 square km
Share of total SA area: 7.7%
GDPR: R504,77 billion
Contribution to RSA GDP: 16.2% (2018)
GDPR growth: 1.8%
Per capita nominal GDPR: R66 254
Gini coefficient: 0.73 (2018)
Gross value added (constant): R460.57m (2018)
Repo rate: 6.5 %
Bank Lending Rate: 10.00%
Investment hotspots: Durban, Richard's Bay
CPI, Inflation: 4.5% (2019)
Nominal exchange rate (R/US$): 14.20 (July 2019)

Contact Details

  • Mr Sihle Ngcamu
  • Executive Manager
  • Investment Promotion
  • 1 Arundel Close, Durban, KZN, 4001
  • +27 31 368 9600
  • Contact Mr Sihle Ngcamu
  • x


  • Document 1
  • Document 2
  • Document 3