As the country’s financial sector comes to terms with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 2020 budget delivered in Cape Town yesterday, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) says that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will help facilitate and stimulate economic prosperity for the nation.
Speaking during the first day of the national SEZ strategy and policy dialogue in Port Elizabeth yesterday, dti deputy minister Fikile Majola said that SEZs would assist in job creation and accelerate economic growth, particularly through industrial development.
“The South African government recognises the SEZ programme as one of the strategic tools for industrialisation, promotion of investments and exports, as well as creation of much-needed jobs, especially for our youth,” he said.
The purpose of the dialogue, according to Majola, is to engage with strategic partners on the proposed changes to the SEZ strategy and the implementation of this programme within the next decade. One of those changes, which has already been approved by Cabinet, will see the national government take a more active role in the development and management of SEZs.
“The proposed SEZ will be owned by the dti (33.3%), Gauteng (33.4%) and Tshwane (33.3%). I want to urge all government spheres, entities and agencies to work together in the implementation of the programme in the spirit of the new district development model,” added Majola.
He said the department would look to expand the SEZ programme past its borders, with a particular emphasis placed on neighbouring African countries in the face of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA