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Opportunity Issue 103

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

VAAL SEZ

VAAL SEZ Reindustrialising the Vaal region Green energy, low-carbon manufacturing and agro-processing will allow the Vaal SEZ to transform the Sedibeng District. The Vaal Special Economic Zone (Vaal SEZ) aims to build on what has come before, leveraging the strong steel sector legacy of years gone by, and the existing businesses that still work hard to deliver quality products. The area has a long history of industrialisation. As a result, a number of industrial skills and artisans can be utilised to support businesses of the future. Studies have shown that businesses in the area have been investing in their futures, continuing to support communities and explore ways to be more sustainable. This process must be supported with infrastructure support and investment in logistics and security. The young population of the Sedibeng District have enormous potential. The area is rich in tertiary institutions. The SEZ is in the process of concluding a Memorandum of Understanding between the Vaal SEZ, North-West University (Vaal Campus, pictured) and the Vaal University of Technology. • High impact investments into the food, agro-industries and agriculture value chain • Investment in gateway logistics (air, road, rail, river) to exploit the locational advantages of the Sedibeng District • Investment in the Blue Economy and the Tourism Sector on the back of the Vaal River • Building a Smart City along the Vaal River to enable SEZ development and to drive urban regeneration • Building strong local linkages between township/rural economies with the value chains that the Vaal SEZ will develop and strengthen Unique selling proposition (USP) Location: uniquely well-located both in terms of logistics and concentrated markets of three major metropoles Logistics: access to major national highways and railways. Ideal for warehousing and storage Skills: artisans available Land: affordable land for agriculture, commerce and industry available and allocated by three local municipalities Vaal River and Vaal Dam: unique assets Links to provincial programmes: including rural and township economies and SMME initiatives Economic returns: including incentives and rebates Infrastructure services: One-stop shop services and the Vaal SEZ’s Shared Services and investor access to serviced land and funding options Management capability: Independent management body, cooperation between dedicated bodies, local, regional and national government. Targeted investments The Vaal SEZ sees a future in which there is: • A green energy-fuelled reindustrialisation of the Vaal region, transforming this industrial basin into the country’s preeminent hub for low-carbon manufacturing and renewable energy production 30 | www.opportunityonline.co.za

VAAL SEZ Regional and national context Credit: Chris Kirchoff/Brand SA The Growing Gauteng Together 2030 Plan has the objective of unlocking economic growth within the Gauteng City Region, to enable employment creation and poverty eradication. A major plank in the GGT2030 initiative is the support of the Special Economic Zone programme as a means of achieving sustainable and job-creating growth. The GGT 2030 reflects a collective vision for the Gauteng City Region in a decade’s time, and beyond. GGT 2030 also highlights priority actions and measures of success for the plan and its execution. It sets out the vision for the Gauteng of 2030, guided by the principles and priorities contained in the Freedom Charter, the NDP and work carried out to date as part of Gauteng’s Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation (TMR) programme. The Vaal SEZ aligns to seven of the 10 priority sectors identified through GGT 2030. District Development Model The SEZ ecosystem is located within the framework of the integrated district-based approach. The implementation process of the SEZ programme requires collaborative efforts from all spheres of government to ensure that the roll-out of the programme is efficient, integrated and well-coordinated. The District Development Model (DDM) is an all-of-government approach to improve integrated planning and delivery across the three spheres of government with district and metropolitan spaces as focal points of government and private-sector investment. It is aimed at facilitating integrated planning, delivery and monitoring of government’s development programmes through the concept of a joint “One Plan”. Monthly meetings are held with the municipalities relevant to the SEZ to track and monitor progress. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) holds enormous potential for all businesses operating on the continent. Market access through these initiatives should be considered by investors in the zone as the zone can be used as an entry point to SADC as well as continental markets for both exports and imports for manufactured goods. The Sub-Saharan Africa region should provide export market development and investment opportunities for Vaal SEZ investors. The potential market of the AFTCA is about .5-trillion. Increased intra-continental trade will encourage demand for more industrial goods as opposed to extractive goods and natural resources. Xola Sithole, Programme Director for the Vaal SEZ Programme Xola is an experienced development-finance practitioner, business executive and entrepreneur. In a career spanning more than 28 years, he has gained expertise in the areas of public policy, entrepreneurship, economic development, development finance, corporate finance and infrastructure planning and investment. He started his career at Unilever, before joining the IDC for a nine-year stint. He has been CEO of two Development Finance Institutions (Sefa & MEGA) and has held a number of directorships in listed and private companies. He is currently contracted as a Technical Advisor to the Industrial Zones Programme, a division of the IDC. The IZP is tasked with accelerating the implementation of the regional industrial zones (SEZs and Industrial Parks) and corridors. His current assignment is Programme Director for the Vaal SEZ Programme, which is housed within the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA). He has a passion for steering economic development and navigating the nexus between the public and private sectors to advance national development goals. Contact details Address: 14 Chopin Street, SW5, Vanderbijl Park 1911 Email: info@vaalsez.co.za | Website: www.ggda.co.za www.opportunityonline.co.za | 31

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