Trade and Investment

The Trade and Investment Sub-directorate forms part of the Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Directorate (EDTA) of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which is responsible for facilitating economic growth and development in the Nelson Mandela Bay Region.

The Trade and Investment Sub-directorate is, amongst other things, responsible for investment promotion, facilitation and retention, and export development and promotion.


  • Investment Promotion and Facilitation
  • Trade and Export Development and Promotion
  • Business Retention and Expansion 


The Trade and Investment Unit is responsible for promoting local direct investments and attracting foreign direct investments. This is achieved by the department; 

  • Promotion of Nelson Mandela Bay as an Investment Destination
  • Attraction of investors to Nelson Mandela Bay
  • Facilitation of Investment Opportunities 


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Trade and Investment has an Export Helpdesk. The Export Helpdesk is currently serving the local trade and export SMME community by providing the following services: 

  • Export Capacity Building
  • Development of New Markets for Nelson Mandela Bay Exporters
  • Promotion of Nelson Mandela Bay as a Destination for Export Manufacturing



  • Facilitation of Retention and Expansion Opportunities
  • Coordination of BR&E programmes
  • Facilitation of Capacity Building initiatives for Nelson Mandela Bay companies (particularly SMMEs)



The NMBM has targeted and prioritised six sectors for robust development. The three main sectors are the Automotive, Agro-processing and Light Manufacturing sectors and they are currently active contributors to the local economy and job creation. The other sectors include, Ocean Economy, Tourism and Services and these have the potential to support economic growth going forward.


Nelson Mandela Bay, undoubtedly the motor manufacturing mecca of Africa, is home to a vibrant and ever-growing industry which provides the basis of the region’s manufacturing capacity. The largest car manufacturer in the country, Volkswagen South Africa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, is situated in Uitenhage. ISUZU SA has also established a presence in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, while Ford SA is another Port Elizabeth based Original Equipment Manufacturer. Another flagship project for the Nelson Mandela Metro has been the establishment of the BAIC in the Coega SEZ, and FAW.

Nelson Mandela Bay is also home to automotive component manufactures that are well positioned to serve top Eastern Cape exporting OEM’s. Vehicles manufacturers and component suppliers in this area have established themselves globally as reliable niche cap fillers. The European Union is the largest export destination for local component exports at the moment.


Dairy, food processing, wool and mohair are the three primary active agro-processing industries in the Eastern Cape. There are opportunities to expand processing of Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk, milk powder and cheese. There are also opportunities for new canning and juicing plants in the citrus industry; as well as prospects for the processing of wool and mohair. The Eastern Cape is the leading world producer of high-quality merino wool and mohair fibres. However, three-quarters of the wool and mohair clips is exported semi-processed and approximately 20% completely raw. There is an opportunity to bring together designers, technology and investors to produce higher value for goods and access new markets.


Five manufacturing subsectors (or industries) have a strong presence and potential for further development within the Nelson Mandela Bay area.


The Eastern Cape is renowned for its textiles and its status as a major producer of wool and mohair. Currently, key products being manufactured are seat covers, fabric and upholstery, industrial hosing, medical fabrics, clothing and the use of natural fabrics for bags, matting and carpeting. Areas being examined are the use of new materials like hemp, wool and mohair fashion items, and indigenous Xhosa designs in high quality fashion clothing. Two key opportunities that have been identified are a fibre processing plant to spin wool and mohair fibre into yarn, as well as a textile mill, centred on cotton, poly-cotton and acrylic fabric.


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is embarking on a drive of creating sustainable employment, diversifying the key sectors, strengthening competitiveness.

The Renewable Energy sector is one of the targeted sectors identified for diversification and one of the fast growing owing to the IPP programme of the Department of Energy. Generation and Components Manufacturing Industry is one of the key targeted sectors. The development of this sector is prioritized in the proposed Nelson Mandela Bay Region Industrial Developed Strategy.


Plastics and pharmaceuticals are the key chemical industries in the Eastern Cape. Nelson Mandela Bay is home to Aspen, the largest generics manufacturer in the southern hemisphere and the leading supplier of generic medicines to both the private and the public sectors in South Africa. Aspen is one of the top twenty generic manufacturers worldwide and South Africa’s number one generic brand. The plastics industry, albeit small, is highly diversified throughout the province where automotive, packaging, moulding and extrusion, household and construction industries are prominent.


This sector has been identified as a focus area for the region in exploiting    the opportunities presented by the vast ocean resources available and diversifying the region’s economy. Maritime economy opportunities include:  

  • Marine transport and manufacturing
  • Offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Aquaculture
  • Marine protection services and ocean governance



Tourism is viewed as an important area of growth for Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape at large. Key attractions in and around Nelson Mandela Bay include wildlife and outdoor, cultural, historical as well as adventure and sport related activities and attractions. Infrastructural developments that are necessary for tourism growth have been prioritised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Nelson Mandela Bay has seen steady growth in the tourism industry in terms of both local and international visitors, resulting in an average annual increase of approximately 10%. This trend has seen the growth of township tourism, thereby strategically positioning Nelson Mandela Bay to benefit.



A number of initiatives, city and provincial, private and public have been launched with the specific intention of building and developing the film industry within Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape at large. Nelson Mandela Bay and its environs have played host to a number of national and international feature films. The city was selected because of the untapped freshness of the locations and "grime free urban environment”.

A variety of top quality locations are available in and around Nelson Mandela Bay.

South Africa, and in turn Nelson Mandela Bay, offers film makers cost-effective locations all in close proximity to each other. The climate is ideal and because South Africa’s summer falls during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, it offers and the fact that English is spoken across

South Africa and its compatible time zone (GMT+2) allows for effortless adaptation from America or Europe.


The services sector, comprising of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) present viable prospects for growth and especially employment creation most notably amongst the youth. The BPO Park in the Coega SEZ is currently home to the Discovery Health call centre and WNS, with a total combined employment of about 2000 people. Nelson Mandela Bay has been identified as a prime location for call centres and back office operations serving South Africa, Africa, Europe and the rest of the English-speaking world. There are opportunities for Offshore companies that seek to establish call centre operations in the region given the affinity to the European region, Australia and the USA.

Contact details:

For more information on investment/investor-related queries in Nelson Mandela Bay, contact:

Trade & Investment Sub-directorate
Tel: +27 41 503 7527


Using a Touch Screen?
Click below for instructions to fix Touch/Swipe issues experienced in Microsoft Edge.

Show me the fix! No thanks
This might take a while depending on your connectivity.
Please be patient while we search the entire site & all its modules for you...