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Economic planning for the province is attempting to integrate industrial development, rural development and the creation of sustainable small-, medium- and micro- enterprises.
New economic drivers being targeted include logistics, ICT, innovation and research, agri-processing and manufacturing in sectors such as pharmaceuticals.
Is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa’s judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Boer republic called the Orange Free State and later Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province date from 1994 when the Bantustans were abolished and reincorporated into South Africa. It is also the only one of the four original provinces of South Africa not to undergo border changes, apart from the reincorporation of Bantustans, and has had these borders since before the outbreak of the Boer War.
It boasts astounding scenic beauty: wide open plains and majestic mountains characterise this province. Cosmos season (cosmos is a pretty pink flower) in the Free State is one of the country’s landmarks, while the area’s natural beauty is a drawcard for outdoor enthusiasts.
The spectacular Drakensberg and Maluti mountain ranges are popular for adventure tourists. The province boasts some of the best rock features in the world, including ancient hills, caves and spectacular sandstone cliffs, and is rich in San rock art.
A popular attraction is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which gets its name from the surrounding gold sandstone cliffs. Great for exploring on foot and home to hundreds of bird species, it’s an excellent site for birders.
The Free State is known for its great hospitality and sedate lifestyle, and is particularly appealing for those interested in exploring small-town South Africa.
The Free State is South Africa’s breadbasket. Because of its good soil and climate, much of the land is taken up by agriculture – the area produces over 70% of the country’s grain, while mining on the rich goldfields reef is its largest employer.
South Africa has experienced a growth in Innovation Spaces that support technology entrepreneurs across the country. Innovation Spaces include: The Innovation Hub , mLab Southern Africa which is hosted within the Innovation Hub since 2011; the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CITI) , BinarySpace ; Codebridge ; Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI) Incubation programme; Invo Tech Incubator , FabLab (now 8 locations); Impact Amplifier ; JoziHub / Jozi Hackerspace ; Softstart BTI ; StartUp 90 ; SmartXchange ;Workshop 17 in Cape Town; LaunchLab ; Impact Hub Johannesburg ; The House 4 Hack . These Innovation Spaces support Incubation (The Innovation Hub; ECITI; InvoTech; Softstart BTI; LaunchLab; SmartXchange), Co-working Spaces (JoziHub; Start-Up Garage; LaunchLab; Impact Hub Johannesburg; Workshop 17) and Acceleration Services (mLab SA; StartUp 90, Impact Amplifier).
The current state and shape of Free State’s economy clearly presents huge opportunities for investors in the manufacturing sector. The Free State Development Corporation (FDC) is actively searching for investors, and giving them a helping hand, as in the construction of factories in the Harrismith and Botshabelo areas.
The opening of a Makro store in Bloemfontein, and extensions being carried out on other retail malls, indicate that a recovery in the provincial economy is under way. Massive investments by companies in the oil and gas and petrochemical sector in Sasolburg have also boosted the economy.
In agriprocessing, a number of opportunities exist in the province. Some products that are being explored are cherries, asparagus, vegetables, wholesale meat, leather and increased seed production in the province’s eastern reaches.
Tourism is another sector that is being targeted as the province seeks to diversify its economy away from an over-dependence on agriculture and mining.
The Free State is one of the world’s largest gold producers, with mining the major employer. Its other major economic activity is agriculture. It is also a leader in the chemicals industry, being home to the giant synthetic-fuels company Sasol.