Both awards, held just a month apart, are indicative of the major role that Sappi Southern Africa continues to play in the KwaZulu-Natal economy. The KZN Exporter of the Year Awards, now in its 19th year, are convened by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and aim to recognise local businesses and exporters in KwaZulu-Natal, by highlighting the importance of exports in stimulating the growth of the province’s economy; whilst the KwaZulu-Natal Investor Awards, convened by TIKZN (Trade & Investment KZN) aimed to showcase the province’s investment success stories which recognised the investment by local and international investors in growing the economy of KwaZulu-Natal.
Commenting on the awards, Sappi Southern Africa CEO, Alex Thiel said: “These awards bear testament to Sappi’s commitment to advancing the South African economy and exemplifies the company’s alignment to Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s Economic Transformation Plan. Export competitiveness is one of the key pillars of Minister Mboweni’s plan and, as one of the world’s largest producers of dissolving wood pulp, Sappi exports about one million tpa for use in international textile markets, boosting the local KZN economy and advancing South Africa’s participation in the global value chain.”
In addition to contributing foreign revenue earnings to the South African economy, Sappi’s Saiccor Mill makes a significant contribution to the regional value chain in KZN, supporting employment and skills transfer and aiding the growth of the country’s second largest contributor to the GDP.
Moving approximately 220 TEU equivalent containers (20-foot containers) per day through Durban Port, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is integral to Sappi’s success and the recognition awarded to the company over the past four years is reflective of this mutually beneficial relationship. Sappi remains committed to the advancement and growth of the province as demonstrated by the substantial ZAR7.7 billion investment at its Sappi Saiccor Mill in Umkomaas. This investment announced at the inaugural South African Investment Conference in 2018, will add an estimated ZAR1 billion per annum of direct benefit to the KZN economy.
“Sappi’s global business is based on the concept of shared value, generating partnerships that mutually benefit our stakeholders and ensuring that the economies, regions and environments in which we operate, benefit from our presence. The province of KwaZulu-Natal has always played a significant role in Sappi’s success and we are proud to have been recognised for the role we continue to play in growing the economy in the region by being recipients of these prestigious awards,” added Thiel.