This paper weighs up the income and jobs generated by the heavy industry proposed in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) project against those that would be generated by agriculture and aquaculture projects in the Coega River basin. It shows that a ‘conservative scenario’ heavy industry Coega IDZ option generates within South Africa almost three times as much income but less than half the number of jobs as a combined agro-aquaculture one (and about two times as much income if negative income effects are added in), and requires about 45 times as much capital. In addition heavy industry may crowd other industries in the area. The conclusions drawn are: • that the opportunity cost of the Coega IDZ and Port Project is high, especially in terms of sustainable employment, • that government should consider more carefully what the most efficient ways are of exploiting the natural capital of the area (the alluvial soils, the coastline and the supplies of fresh water), • that if conflicts of interest between private sector interests are likely, there are dangers in development initiatives based on private-public partnerships, and • that the heavy industry currently proposed for the Coega IDZ may limit the scope for future industrial developments in the area, by using up much of the ‘safe’ waste assimilating capacity of the air


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