SEZ officials to learn from China

Monday, August 21, 2017

Members of the Special Economic Zones Advisory Board are in China on a weeklong study tour, said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The main aim of the study tour taking place in Beijing is to learn from the Chinese experience in the planning, development and management of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities.

Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said the study tour is one of the capacity-building programmes designed for the board, with the aim of equipping the members with diverse and complex approaches to SEZ planning and development.

The tour is expected to assist in building capacity to develop proper strategies and policies for SEZs in South Africa.

The group will gain insight into the implementation and impact of the SEZ model in China.  This will include lessons on the SEZ infrastructure, funding, policy, sustainability, strategy investment promotion strategies and SEZ management structures in all three spheres of government.

“One of the strategic initiatives that government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), has earmarked for accelerating the country’s industrial development agenda is the SEZ Programme.”

“The premise is that SEZs can provide the country with the necessary impetus for promoting industrial development building the required industrial infrastructure, promoting coordinated planning among key government agencies and the private sector, and using the zones to guide the deployment of other necessary development tools,” said Deputy Minister Magwanishe.

He added that China’s SEZ model is the most appropriate for South Africa to learn from as the country has gone through radical economic development, and has had to deal with similar development challenges such as unemployment and poverty that South Africa as a country is faced with.

“China is the second biggest economy in the world, and the South Africa’s biggest trading partner. China’s market remains a key strategic priority for South Africa’s raw material and value-added products. Moreover, China has about 141 zones, with an annual industrial output of over 1.2 trillion yuan. China is the most successful country in terms of planning, development and management of SEZs,” he said.

The 15-member SEZ Advisory Board is an independent body established by the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies through the Special Economic Zones Act to advise him on the policy and strategy for SEZs, as well as on applications for designation. –

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