Coega SEZ forges ahead to be new automotive hub

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is forging ahead to become the new automotive hub on the African continent.

The SEZ, which is located in the Eastern Cape, is continuing with construction in Zone 1 of the Coega SEZ BAIC site.

“The Coega SEZ is well on its way to cement its position as a new automotive hub on the continent as the only place where cumulatively over $1 billion USD Chinese automotive investment is located in just one square mile,” said the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) on Wednesday.

The CDC is wholly-owned by the South African government and the operator of the Coega SEZ.

The automotive hub is set to record even greater success as it is home to two Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) namely: First Automotive Works (FAW) and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC). Both companies hail from China having invested R1 billion and R11 billion respectively in 2012 and 2016.

The hub is also home to over 40 companies in the automotive, logistics, chemical, metals and service sectors.

The hub is also within a 30km and 25 minute radius from several other OEMs namely Isuzu, Volkswagen and Ford – all of whom produce for the domestic and export markets.

It is also located within a 30km and 25 minute radius from at least 150 component manufacturers ranging from leather, plastic, vinyl to engines; pressed metal parts; seats and seat systems, among others.

Last September, Cabinet welcomed the R11 billion investment by BAIC to establish an automotive manufacturing plant in the SEZ.

Cabinet at the time, described the deal as historic, adding that the transaction is the biggest automotive investment in Africa in the last 40 years and reaffirms South Africa as a top investment destination for global automotive producers.

In August last year, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC Unit Head of marketing and communications, said the plant is expected to create 2 500 jobs directly and more than 10 600 jobs indirectly.

SEZ hosts British High Commissioner

Meanwhile, the SEZ this week hosted the Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) and member of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) British High Commissioner to South Africa, Nigel Casey.

The visit was meant to explore economic trade and facilitate investment between South Africa and the United Kingdom. This followed the recent appointment, earlier this year of High Commissioner Casey.

“I’m particularly pleased by the number of investors who have taken advantage of this amazing economic zone and made a great success of their investments,” said the High Commissioner.

South Africa is the largest recipient of British Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa by accounting for 30% of the total UK FDI with the value of £13.1 billion.

The UK is viewed as a historical, strategic trade and investment partner for South Africa and therefore remains a key market.

The SEZ currently hosts over 40 operational investors with investment value of R6.9 billion.  – SAnews.gov.za

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