SERVICES | Trade, investment and innovation


The investment Promotion Unit of ECDC is the official investment promotion agency of the Eastern Cape Province.

Our mandate is to actively market the Eastern Cape and to facilitate foreign and local direct investment into the province.

In so doing the agency creates meaningful jobs and stimulates economic growth.


  • Marketing the Eastern Cape as an attractive investment destination
  • Lobbying for policy that is conducive to economic growth
  • Providing professional and relevant after-care service to all investors
  • Assisting investors to access incentive schemes and local business service networks
  • Identifying and packaging investment opportunities in key sectors in the Eastern Cape
  • Identifying and supporting joint ventures
  • Providing detailed market information and local contacts
  • Facilitating access to available greenfield and brownfield sites across the province.


Investment into province continues

In the past five years, the Eastern Cape has experienced sizeable local and international investment in key sectors such as automotive, renewable energy and forestry.

It is testament to the Eastern Cape that it continues to be an investment destination of choice for local and foreign investors in tough global times.

ECDC has been involved in assisting almost all of these investors and business people to harness the potential of the Eastern Cape and to grow successful commerce and industry in our region.


Focusing on provincial growth sectors

ECDC focuses on eight growth sectors which are all aligned to the Provincial Economic Development Strategy and Provincial Development Plan.

These sectors are:

  • Agriculture and agro-processing
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Renewable energy – generation and component manufacture
  • General manufacturing including metals and engineering, plastics, chemicals and electronic goods
  • Tourism – infrastructure and product
  • Business Process Outsourcing and Offshoring (BPO&O)
  • Film –development and growth of the film and media industry in the province
  • The Ocean Economy.


Special Economic Zones (SEZs) access to markets

The competitive advantage of investing in the Eastern Cape lies in:

Two special economic zones in East London and Coega.

These are strategically situated major transport and shipping routes, and provide purpose-built infrastructure for investors wishing to produce and manufacture for the South African Development Community and world markets.

Four universities and a number of FET colleges offering high impact tertiary education:


An integrated database system developed and maintained by the province’s special economic zones.

Through this portal, potential investors have ready access to skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour resources.

Set-up costs for new business in the Eastern Cape are extremely competitive in terms of land and rental price, construction costs and overall input costs.


Access to markets

The Eastern Cape has three ports, four airports and good road and rail links and offers easy access to domestic, SADC and global markets.


Quality of living

The urban and the rural areas of the Eastern Cape boast some of the best quality of living standards in South Africa. Education, recreation and healthcare facilities are affordable and of high quality.


Investment incentive

Local, provincial and national government have a range of investment incentives available for new and existing operations.

These incentives range from manufacturing rebates to preferential production factor costs depending on the size and type of investment or proposed business operation.

Full details of applicable incentives can be discussed with an investment promotion sector specialist at ECDC.


For more information:

Head: Trade, Investment and Innovation

Telephone +27 (0)43 704 5609





Globalisation is leading to an increased decline in trade and investment barriers across the world.

Changing global demographics and a changing world economy, coupled to technological change, improvements in international transportation technology and global manufacturing and production output are all contributing factors to increased trade.

The Eastern Cape Provincial Government has realised the importance of a medium to long-term industrial strategy to assist investors and business persons interested in harnessing the production, manufacturing and export potential of the province. Focus areas for the strategy include:

  • Agro-industries
  • Capital goods
  • Auto-sector production and manufacturing
  • Green industries including renewable energy, carbon extraction and carbon trading facilities
  • Petro-chemicals.

The Trade Promotion Unit, in conjunction with provincial and national partners, is directly involved in providing opportunities to export-ready Eastern Cape businesses to penetrate local and foreign markets in the most effective manner by means of non-financial support.

Eastern Cape-based companies are focusing on their competitive and comparative trade advantage and harnessing these to access international markets.

Major export markets for the Eastern Cape is Germany followed by Hong Kong, United States, China, Netherlands, Namibia and India.

The ECDC Trade Promotion Unit provides small and medium-sized export ready companies, based in the Eastern Cape, with opportunities to access regional and global trade markets.

Once a company has been assessed and is regarded as being “export- ready”, the unit facilitates annual trade missions, exhibitions and thematic workshops to offer networking platforms, increase trade/export knowledge and gain access to prospective clients in foreign targeted countries.

Various businesses throughout the province assisted with access to global markets, have now built profitable and sustainable relationships with their foreign trade partners.

The unit facilitates annual trade missions and exhibitions to network with prospective clients to foreign countries.


Strategic  objectives

  • Increase the number of exporters and volume of trade from the Eastern Cape to the rest of the world
  • Focus on and explore new markets for Eastern Cape products
  • Maximise opportunities offered by various policies, bilateral agreements and existing incentives
  • Broaden trade within Africa and facilitate access to emerging markets
  • Insight into new markets by providing basic country and market data
  • Opportunities through a trade-lead information service
  • Understanding of complex export issues through export workshops and seminars
  • Organising and preparing businesses for participation in trade fairs/exhibitions


Quality services

The Trade Promotion unit with its wide-ranging access to foreign trade destinations through preferential trade agreements at a regional and bilateral level, offers:

  • Assistance to companies to assess and evaluate their ability to service international markets (export readiness assessment analysis)
  • Help for Eastern Cape-based companies to access national export incentive programmes offered by the dti (export marketing and investment assistance - EMIA) & Sector Specific Assistance Scheme (SSAS)
  • Opportunities to be part of national and provincial international trade missions
  • Advice and assistance on marketing products to prospective regional and international buyers
  • Regional networking opportunities
  • International networking opportunities in overseas markets
  • Linkages to prospective international business partners and investors.


Demystifying the export experience

The Trade Promotion unit addresses one of the deterrents to becoming an exporter - the unknown complexity that the idea of exporting seems to hold.

The knowledgeable Trade Promotion team will help simplify the process by helping potential exporters to complete the export readiness assessment form, which assesses a business’s export readiness using the following indicators:

  • Size of the company
  • Number of years in business
  • Production capabilities
  • Adaptability to new environments
  • Financial security
  • Marketing exposure.


Export opportunities

Export Network Forum    

The ECDC Trade Promotion unit facilitates and co-ordinates export network forums.

These forums bring together Eastern Southern African Development Community (SADC), East and Cape business that are involved in, or would like to be West Africa, and the other on selected Asian markets namely, involved in, regional and international trade.

This forum allows local business to share ideas, look at aspects of best practice in export and trade and form partnerships to enhance their capacity to access global markets and boost their trade footprint.


International missions and exhibitions

In partnership with the Department of Trade Industry (the dti), trade and investment promotion agencies, chambers of commerce and other industry players, ECDC facilitates trade missions and exhibitions.

These provide local companies an opportunity to showcase their products on international platforms through participation on exhibitions, national pavilions and trade missions. ECDC also coordinates inward missions.


Export-orientated workshops

ECDC conducts workshops across the province in collaboration with SEDA and the dti introducing SMMEs to exports and providing them with information on export incentives and other non-financial support available.

ECDC also conducts export training in partnership with the DTI, SEDA and LEDs.


Exploring new markets

ECDC conducts studies on new market opportunities in the South African Development Community (SADC), East and West Africa, and the other on selected Asian markets, namely India, China, South Korea and Japan.


Incentivising potential exporters

The Department of Trade and Industry has incentive schemes such as the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme which assists domestic exporters, particularly SMMEs, to access foreign markets.


Collaborative approach

The Trade Promotion unit collaborates with other units at ECDC, such as the Investment Promotions unit, which provides contract finance and the Business Support unit which assists with business trainings.

Working with provincial and national partners; this includes



For more information:

Trade Promotion Unit

Telephone +27 (0)43 704 5600