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DTI Shines Spotlight on SEZs

April 4, 2019

Department of Trade and Industry

4 April 2019

Special economic zones have, thus far, attracted investment of over R16.8 billion.

The trade and industry minister, Rob Davies, revealed this during an address at the first National Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Investment Conference held in Durban.

According to the minister, the SEZ programme has also created 15 716 direct jobs.

“Since the introduction of the new SEZ legislation in 2014, the number of designated zones has increased, the investor confidence has improved, the number of operational investments has increased and continue to increase, the support from various sectors of the society, in particular, all spheres of government, State-Owned Entities (SOEs), the business community and labour has also improved considerably,” added Davies.

The minister indicated that the Coega SEZ has become a best practice model for all SEZs in South Africa and across the continent.

It is the biggest SEZ in terms of number and value of investments on the African continent.

In order to increase investments into SEZs, the minister declared that it was “time to find tailor-made solutions that will support the SEZs and find solutions that will support investors in the zones”.

In a statement, the trade and industry department pointed out that the application for the proposed designation of the Bojanala SEZ in North West will soon be gazetted for public comment.

Meanwhile, speaking at the conference, the department’s chief economist, Stephen Hanival, indicated that South African economic investment and industrial policies have worked where adequate resources were available and, therefore, more interventions and innovations will be able to grow the economy and create more jobs.

Hanival added that “where resources were adequately and properly designed, economic investment and industrial policy worked in key sectors and interventions and created jobs”.

At the conference, the department’s chief director of special economic zones, Maoto Molefane, announced that government remained “committed to improve and upscale the impact of the SEZs programme and we have therefore prioritised the finalisation of a 10 year SEZ Development Roadmap, continuous policy and legislative improvements, designate new SEZs, market the SEZ Programme and promote investments, and capacity as well as institutional development for 2019/2020 financial year”.

In a separate matter, the department has announced, in collaboration with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, the hosting of a two-day Intellectual Property and Technology Commercialisation Colloquium at Saint George Hotel Conference Centre in Pretoria from 8-9 April 2019.

The theme for the Colloquium will be “Propelling innovation towards full-scale industrialisation and inclusive growth”.

“The colloquium will explore how innovators can create value from their IP and what mechanisms should be put in place to ensure successful commercialisation. It will also cover key areas of intellectual property (IP) development and protection, acquisition and exploitation and explore how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is challenging the value of conventional IP rights protection and its enforcement.”