South Africa: Sedibeng Investment Conference to Re-Ignite the Regional Economy

Plans to transform, modernise and reindustrialise the Sedibeng District's economy is top of the agenda at the Sedibeng Investment Conference.

The Gauteng provincial government is hosting the conference on Friday to boost investor confidence and drum up investment in this region.

This will help re-ignite the regional economy and boost the province's employment creation effort.

The Southern Development Corridor in Gauteng refers to the Sedibeng District, which comprises of Emfuleni, Lesedi and Midvaal Local Municipalities.

The Sedibeng District Municipality boasts a strong manufacturing sector, as well as a growing services sector with a huge untapped potential to grow agricultural and related industries.

Public infrastructure and natural endowments that anchor the regional economy include the Vaal River, Vaal Dam, institutions of higher learning (VUT, NWU & Sedibeng TVET) and key national and provincial development corridors such as the N3, N1 and R59.

The three spheres of government are working together during this conference to provide a platform to solidify plans that have been developed and investments made in the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the Vaal region.

This is in a bid to unlock private sector investment, particularly in high growth sectors such as agro-processing, agribusiness, food and beverage, cannabis farming, renewable energy, transport and logistics, and tourism and hospitality.

"The Vaal Special Economic Zones (SEZ) which will include the construction of a new Vaal River City is ready to start in earnest," Gauteng Premier David Makhura said.

"The first phase of the Vaal SEZ projects in the townships will focus on the Heidelberg Industrial Park and the auto and digital hubs in Sebokeng.

"The second phase will focus on the Leeuwkuil, Cyferpan and Meyerton Industrial Hubs and the third phase will focus on industrial parks development with the context of implementing the Master Plan over a 20-year period," Makhura said.

Furthermore, the development of the new Vaal River City aims to unlock the potential of the waterfront developments in the Emfuleni and Midvaal areas.

The other area of focus includes the unlocking of the agricultural potential, especially the medicinal cannabis cultivation and other high growth sectors.

Lerato Maloka, Sedibeng District Executive Mayor, said: "We are optimistic that potential investors will descend to our region today to share their investment plans and to boost investor confidence in the Sedibeng region and unleash the much-needed impetus to implement the Master Plan aimed at building strong linkages between township and rural economies, create jobs and activate the vital work of the Vaal Special Economic Zone. It is time for all of us to re-ignite the birthplace of the industrialisation of South Africa."

The conference will be attended by Makhura, along with Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) Deputy Minister Fikile Majola, the Mayor and Economic Development MEC Parks Tau.

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