Seifsa puts SEZs at forefront of Brics Manufacturing Conference agenda

2nd March 2021 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has explained why it has placed special economic zones (SEZs) at the heart of the inaugural Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) Manufacturing Conference to be hosted on March 26.

CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba emphasises that SEZs have the potential to create a significant number of entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, while they provide an avenue for governments to attract investments, increase exports and include local companies into global supply chains.

“If implemented correctly, SEZs can promote inclusive growth with long-term sustainability linked to both national and international supply chains. There have been several successful SEZ programmes that have already made a positive impact on the economy.

These include the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone in Gauteng, which Premier David Makhura said has seen the government’s R3.3-billion infrastructure investment unlock billions of rands’ worth of investment by suppliers, including R15.8-billion by Ford Motor Company – the biggest foreign direct investment since the 2010 World Cup,” Nyatsumba highlights.

He adds that, in the Eastern Cape, the East London and Coega SEZ programmes have attracted more than R19-billion in investment into the province.

“The Brics Manufacturing Conference will not only share these success stories, but it will also provide insights into how local manufacturers can participate in SEZ programmes and ultimately expand their footprints into our Brics counterparts.”

Among the economic zones that will be showcased at the conference will be the Nkomazi SEZ, based in Mpumalanga, which is a priority project of the Brics Manufacturing Working Group.

The working group is the organiser of the conference – in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation.

Speakers who will participate in a plenary session include Nkomazi SEZ CEO Conny Mametja, Coega SEZ CEO Khwezi Tiya, Atlantis SEZ acting CEO Pierre Voges, Automotive Industry Development Centre CEO Lance Schultz, OR Tambo SEZ CEO Seipati Mngadi and Dube TradePort CEO Hamish Erskine.