Special Economic Zone officials to receive training in China

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pretoria - Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and provincial departments, as well as agencies responsible for the implementation of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are to receive training in China.

In a statement on Sunday, the dti said a total of 34 SEZ practitioners and supporting sector specialists, provincial departments and agencies responsible for the implementation of the SEZ Programme will depart for Tianjin, China, on Monday.

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

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the training forms part of a five-year agreement signed between South Africa and China in 2014.

The intention of the agreement is to train about 30 officials per annum on SEZs.

“The purpose of the Capacity Building Programme on the SEZ is to equip practitioners with the technical know-how on the planning, development, management and operations of special economic zones. 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,” said Minister Davies.

The officials will attend the fourth Capacity Building Programme on the SEZ taking place from 24 May to 13 June 2017.

The dti deemed it necessary to design and implement a systematic Capacity Building Programme on the SEZ in order to create a pool of skilled and trained officials who will make the implementation of the SEZ programme a success.

“Despite the strong and mutually-beneficial political and economic relations that we have with China, the country is regarded as one of the best in the world when it comes to the implementation of the SEZs model. Our officials will be greatly empowered by being exposed to the zones in China and how they are managed,” said the Minister.

The training covers a range of topics including planning, infrastructure development, developing investment propositions, marketing tools and channels. It also covers topics like how to deal with potential investors, stakeholder management including international alliances, public-private partnerships models, as well as 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 objectives of the SEZ Programme include promoting targeted industrial capabilities within the framework of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), New Growth Path and the New Development Plan.

It is also aimed at 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 currently has eight Special Economic Zones, with the latest SEZ having been launched by President Jacob Zuma in the Free State, last month. – SAnews.gov.za

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