South Africa’s Special Economic Zones operators and businesses exposed to benefits of AfCFTA



South Africa’s Special Economic Zones operators and businesses are to be exposed to the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) during a workshop by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic).

The department will host the workshop in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) at the IDC Auditorium in Sandton on Wednesday from 09:00 in the morning.

The workshop aims to provide an overview of the AfCFTA and the status of negotiations and implementation, communicate the benefits and export opportunities offered under the AfCFTA to the SEZ managers, investors and tenants and share information on incentives, customs requirements, quality standards and export finance insurance solutions.

The Special Economic Zones Programme has over the 10 years since its inception offered a conducive environment for businesses to enhance their operations. The South African government uses the SEZs as a way to attract investments in sectors with no obvious comparative advantage, or as a way of increasing value added in export activities.

According to the Deputy Director-General of Trade at the dtic, Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, the AfCFTA workshop will offer an opportunity to collaborate with the SEZs and present the master plan and AfCFTA SEZ Ministerial Regulations.

The six sector master plans targeted are steel and fabrication, agriculture and agro-processing, retail-clothing textile leather and footwear, automotive industry, sugar value chain and forestry.

“The aim is to share export opportunities for the SEZs arising from the AfCFTA and to sensitise them on the benefits of exporting under the AfCFTA,” Mlumbi-Peter said.

For South Africa, the AfCFTA provides an opportunity for the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), including youth and women owned companies to expand to new markets in East, Central, West and North Africa.

“We wish to encourage companies to produce and export value added manufactured products to support sustainable jobs to new preferential markets in the African continent,” she said.

Participants will also receive presentations from the dtic’s Export Desk, Proudly South African, Brand SA and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). –