Mbhashe Municipality is named after the Mbhashe (River) which twists and meanders until it flows into the sea at Mbhashe Point, close to the Haven. Mbhashe Municipality is also home to the head offices of the AmaXhosa kingdom at Nqadu Great Place.
Mbhashe is predominantly rural, consisting of low-density rural settlements surrounded by communal areas used for agriculture and grazing. There are high levels of unemployment, poverty and dependency, which will increase if employment opportunities are not created for the large youthful population. The local economy is dominated by the community services sector, in terms of both GVA and unemployment. Mbashe is the most grant-dependent local economy in the Eastern Cape, and has one of the lowest levels of productivity. In spite of the shortage of skills, however, there has been a growth in formal employment.
There are almost 22 000ha arable land, but agricultural production is hampered by a lack of infrastructure, including a lack of fencing. Production subtropical and deciduous fruit, and maize, can be increased. Potential exists for the dry-land cultivation of maize and beans, the production of broilers and eggs, and growing tomatoes using hydroponics. The production of bio-fuels could also lead to job creation and poverty alleviation.
Mbhashe is well situated to livestock (sheep, cattle and goats) farming. Considerable efforts are being put into improving the quality of the livestock, thereby increasing meat and milk production.
Manufacturing initiatives being undertaken include brick making, bakeries, leather work manufacturing, sewing and wlding. There is also potential to develop fishing along the coast and river mouths.