Two Western Cape officials departed for China on Friday to attend training on Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Mr Michael Webster from the Green Cape Sector Development Agency, and Ms Lelanie Abraham from the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone are part of a 20-member group that will attend a 21-day Capacity Building Programme on SEZs in the Asian country. The training, which is coordinated by Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), will take place in the Chinese port city of Tianjin.
The training is part of a five-year agreement signed by South Africa and China in 2014. The intention of the agreement is to train a maximum of thirty officials per annum on SEZs. It covers 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, as well as financing and managing operations of the SEZ.
“The trip to China will broaden my experience and knowledge about the SEZ model that the Chinese have been implementing successfully for a long time. I am confident that I will be learning a lot about various aspects of an SEZ from operational to logistical processes and systems. I am also looking forward to seeing how the Chinese apply the one-stop shop concept in their SEZ programme to provide the necessary services to business in an integrated and seamless manner,” says Webster.
He added that the knowledge he would gain in China will be valuable to his work at the SEZ that is planned to be established in Atlantis.
For Abraham attending the training will provide her with an opportunity to learn about how the Chinese deal with investors and other stakeholders from a client services perspective.
“At the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone I am dealing with companies that make use of the services provided by the industrial zone including investors. In China I will learn more about how to efficiently deal with SEZ clients and provide them with a better service to contribute in the ease of doing business in the economic zone,” says Abraham.
According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, the purpose of the Capacity Building Programme on Special Economic Zones is to equip policy-makers, development practitioners and operators with the technical know-how on the planning, development, management and operations of the SEZs.
“The Special Economic Zones Programme is aimed at accelerating economic growth and development in designated regions of the country by increasing the stock of foreign and domestic direct investments, increasing value added exports, creating jobs, as well as building industrial clusters and regional industrial hubs,” said Minister Davies