JOHANNESBURG– South Africa will embark on a roadshow in China to attract investment in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in this country.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who witnessed the signing of under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on strategic co-operation between the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Bank of China here Monday, said the signing of the MoU would bear immediate results when the roadshow to promote SEZs kicks off in May.

Through the MoU on strategic cooperation, the dti and the Bank of China, one of China’s Big Four commercial banks, have agreed to co-operate on issues of investment promotion and facilitation, trade promotion and projects support. The bank will also mobilise international and domestic resources to promote investments for South Africa in its capacity as a commercial bank.

“I am pleased that there are already plans to move speedily in implementing the MoU, as there are arrangements in place for the Special Economic Zones investment roadshow that will take place in China in early May. The main purpose of the roadshow is to promote our SEZs in China and showcase the opportunities that are available there, with the view of attracting more investment in the SEZs,” said Davies.

He added that China was not only South Africa’s largest trading partner but it had also emerged in recent years as a significant investor in both infrastructure and industrial projects in South Africa.

“China’s investments in South Africa are important particularly to the dti as they boost the department’s efforts to industrialise the country. Financial institutions like the Bank of China play a very critical role in the facilitation investment projects in the country,” he noted.

“We are optimistic that the MoU will strengthen cooperation between SA and China in a number of areas, including trade missions, joint marketing activities, investment and industrial finance.”

The MoU was signed by the Director-General of the dti, Lionel October, and the General Manager of the Financial Solutions Department at the Bank of China, Ren Li.

SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, supported through special arrangements (that may include laws) and systems that are often different from those that apply in the rest of the country.

The dti’s Industrial Policy Action Plan identifies SEZs as key contributors to economic development. They are growth engines towards government’s strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development and employment creation.