A group of 50 Special Economic Zones (SEZ) practitioners and supporting sector specialists are to attend a special training in Tianjin, China, that gets underway later this week, said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
The group of practitioners and supporting sector specialists from the dti, provincial departments and local municipalities and agencies responsible for the implementation of the SEZ Programme will participate in the Capacity Building Programme.
Dti Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said the programme that gets underway is important to ensure that all stakeholders have the know-how required to run SEZs in the country.
“The Programme is important to ensure that all stakeholders have the technical know-how required for the successful development of the SEZs in South Africa. One of the major challenges that government has identified in relation to the development of the SEZs as part of the implementation of our SEZ Programme is the capacity constraint. This is the fifth group of our officials to be trained in China as part of the implementation of our agreement on the SEZ Programme,” said Magwanishe on Monday.
The Deputy Minister said government is grateful to the Chinese government for providing the country’s officials with the opportunity to equip themselves with knowledge, information and skills related to the roll-out of the SEZ Programme.
The training, which will get underway from Thursday, is the fifth and is the last under the five-year agreement signed between South Africa and China in 2014.
“We are optimistic that we will be able to negotiate successfully with China for the extension of the programme as we have noticed how beneficial it is to us,” he said.
He added that the dti deemed it necessary to design and implement a Capacity Building Programme on SEZs in order to create a pool of skilled and trained officials who will consequently make the implementation of the SEZ programme a success.
China is regarded as one of the best in the world when it comes to the implementation of the SEZs model.
The training will cover a range of topics including planning, infrastructure development, developing investment propositions, marketing tools and channels, and how to deal with potential investors, stakeholder management including international alliances, public-private partnerships models, financing and managing operations of the SEZ.
The SEZ Programme has been introduced to contribute to accelerating industrialisation as a necessary step towards addressing many of the country’s socio-economic challenges such as unemployment, poverty and under-development.
The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) identifies SEZs as key contributors to economic development. They are growth engines towards government’s strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development and employment creation.
The objectives of the SEZ Programme include promoting beneficiation and value-addition to the country’s minerals and other natural resources, as well as developing a world-class infrastructure required to support the development of the targeted industrial activities.
South Africa has eight designated SEZs located in six of the country’s provinces. The SEZs are supported by state-of-the-art infrastructure and competitive tax incentive package. The SEZs are Coega, Richards Bay, East London, Saldanha Bay, Dube TradePort, Maliti-A-Phofung, OR Tambo and Musina/Makhado.
The training will conclude on 7 June.