The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Fikile Majola will lead a Special Economic Zones (SEZs) investment roadshow to Chengdu, China from 5-6 September 2019.
The objective of the roadshow is for SEZ operators to showcase investment opportunities. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) also seeks to derive value from the cooperation agreements with China on the SEZs, particularly as South Africa embarks on industrialisation and mineral beneficiation programmes.
Departmental spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said the 2019 investment roadshow would also serve as the implementation of the undertakings of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA) signed between the two countries in China in 2011.
“Also, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in Beijing in 2018 and Memoranda of Understanding with Bank of China (BOC) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China aiming to support South Africa’s initiatives of industrialisation and beneficiation.”
According to deputy minister Majola, the SEZ Investment Roadshow is part of the broader SEZ Marketing and Investment Strategy that the dti is aggressively driving to increase the number and value of private investments in SEZs.
The minister the SEZs can provide the country with the necessary impetus for promoting industrial agglomeration, building desired industrial capabilities, small enterprise development and integration in strategic value chains, promoting coordinated planning among key government agencies and the private sector, and using the zones to guide the deployment of other necessary development tools.
“The Special Economic Zones Programme has now entered a full implementation phase, with designated SEZs continuing to show positive progress in terms of the number of investors operating in the zones. We are taking action to scale up implementation where there are bottlenecks. More importantly, there has also been a significant increase in the number and value of the secured but not operational investment,” said Majola.
Majola adds that between 2019 and 2020, the number of operational investors in designated SEZs has increased from 110 to 122, with an investment value sitting at over R19 billion.
“The number of designated Special Economic Zones in South Africa has now reached 10, covering seven provinces. The number of direct jobs has also increased from 13 466 to 15 737. The number of signed but non-operational investors currently estimated to be 61, with a total investment value of more than R33 billion,” he says. He adds that the SEZ Programme has been used by many countries across the globe as one of the effective instruments to promote industrialisation.
“More and more countries have begun to implement this instrument as a tool for industrialisation, especially as a way of attracting Foreign Direct Investments, particularly in the manufacturing sector, creating jobs, generating exports and transferring skills,” he said.