5 April 2019

South Africa: Department Seeks Means to Boost SMMEs in SEZs

The Department of Small Business Development has commissioned a research study into opportunities and best practices for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) within the Special Economic Zones Programme.

The study will be concluded and approved in June. It will look at international best practice of SMMEs within SEZs in China and Singapore.

Furthermore, the study will identify opportunities and modalities to realise opportunities for SMMEs and co-operatives in SEZs in South Africa, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced on Thursday.

"We are also studying the specific sectors and industries that are earmarked for certain SEZs and looking at working with local and provincial government to see how best we can directly support these sectors mainly in high-end productive sectors such as manufacturing and industrialisation, auto-motives, agro-processing and business services in order for us to direct our support accordingly," Zulu said.

Zulu was speaking on the second day of the first National Special Economic Zones Conference, in Durban, on Thursday.

The conference is hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

Zulu said the study into the link between SMMEs and SEZ is important, as both programmes are part of government's mix of economic interventions aimed at growing the economy and creating jobs.

"The SEZ programme is an important tool for achieving government's objectives of attracting strategic foreign and domestic direct investment in key and selected regions, creating additional industrial hubs and centres, especially in previously marginalised areas with significant potential, and creating decent and sustainable jobs and thereby improving the overall quality of life.

"This is where small and medium enterprises play a significant role in the lives of these communities and regions," said Zulu

Over 500 delegates representing national, provincial and local government, State-owned entities, SEZs, industry associations, industry experts and academics, international investment communities and local businesses, multinational corporations, as well as ports and logistics operators are attending the conference.

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