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S. Africa launches special economic zone outside Cape Town
Last Updated: 2018-12-07 16:29 | Xinhua
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday launched the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) outside Cape Town.

This brought to nine the total number of SEZs in the country.

The Atlantis SEZ was conceived as an integrated and sustainable economic development intervention in a region with both great promise and several social challenges, Ramaphosa said at the launch ceremony.

The fundamental premise of the Atlantis SEZ is to unlock the underlying economic value of existing and underutilized infrastructure through the creation of a green tech manufacturing hub, according to the president.

This includes exploiting its strategic location with its access to major national roads, he said.

Its proximity to two ports, in Cape Town and Saldanha, provides advantages for exporters, Ramaphosa said.

In addition to securing investments, the Atlantis SEZ has an investment pipeline valued at 2.4 billion rand (about 174 million dollars).

In the short to medium term, the zone is projected to create over 1,400 jobs in Atlantis. Through manufacturing, job multipliers are estimated to rise to about 4,500 for the area.

The SEZ program is supported by a competitive incentive package, which includes, among others, a 15-percent corporate tax incentive, employment tax incentive, accelerated depreciation allowance, VAT and customs exemption, and infrastructure support.

The program, identified as one of the critical economic policy instruments for promoting industrialization, has so far managed to generate 11.6 billion rand (about 840 million U.S. dollars) worth of private investments into the SEZs where there were 115 operational investors at the end of the second quarter, according to Ramaphosa.

Most of the SEZs focus on a specific industry, encouraging the development of clusters of suppliers and service providers.

By concentrating industrial value chains in these areas, collaboration is encouraged and costs are significantly reduced, said Ramaphosa.

"The special economic zones are key to unlocking the country's competitive and comparative advantages," Ramaphosa said.

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