Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Fikile Majola is in China to woo investors as South Africa kicks off its Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Investment Roadshow.
“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,” said the department.
Kicking-off today, the dti said the roadshow will also serve as the implementation of the undertakings of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSPA) signed between the two countries in China in 2011, 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.
These aim to support South Africa’s initiatives of industrialisation and beneficiation.
Majola said 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.
“The SEZs programme has now entered a full implementation phase, with designated SEZs continuing to show a 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 secured but not operational investment,” he said.
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 is currently estimated to be 61, with a total investment value of more than R33 billion,” said the Deputy Minister.
The Deputy Minister is scheduled to meet with the China National Development Reformed Commission and Bank of China to discuss further cooperation on developing industrial capabilities and transfer of innovation and technology between the two countries.
He will also seek firm commitments from prospective investors from China to invest in the South African SEZs.
Majola is accompanied to Chengdu by the South African SEZs representatives, as well as officials from Eskom and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
The roadshow will conclude on Friday.