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What South Africa can learn from the China led SEZ Programme - published 11 Jul 2018

SA DELEGATION: visiting iFlyLIFE head offices located in Hebei province as part of the Special Economic Zone capacity-building programme.

What South Africa can learn from the China led SEZ Programme – A summary of the SEZ Capacity Building Programme held in China.

Three of CDC`s employees were a part of the South African delegation that attended the China Special Economic Zone(SEZ) Capacity Training programme. The 3-week seminar conducted by the Economic Development Ministry of China comprised of professionals within the SEZ space and Professors from various institutions of higher learning in China giving historical perspective on China’s reform programme. Some of the varying topics included, lectures on the “Theoretical Aspects of the SEZ”, “Opening-up and Reform Programme” that led to the transformation of Tianjin from a “Desolated Salt pan to a Progressive Economic Development Area” with globally listed companies invested in the area.

The major observations from the trip that South Africa can take away include, the support for emerging industrialists within the SEZ to drive the transformation agenda; proper monitoring and articulation of the SEZ vision with integrated planning within the three spheres of government, driving an aggressive skills development programme aligned with international trends to position SEZ as an investment destination of choice, adopting a pointed approach for potential investors and developing a blue print for development of new sectors and the creation of provincial one stop shops for the processing of investors.

“The CDC was represented by three of its staff members at the seminar. This forms part of an ongoing commitment by the organisation to invest in the skills set of its staff and development. We are confident that such initiatives will broaden the knowledge pool within the organization,” Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC Unit Head: Marketing, Brand and Communications.

The CDC employees who were on the trip shared their experiences from the programme. “I was impressed by the economic development and the infrastructure in all the cities that we visited. The consistent economic policy implementation is the main engine in the rapid development of their country, which I also think is mainly driven by their shared vision”, says Thandokazi Pangabantu CDC`s quantative analyst. Her colleague, Vuyani Nombembe, CDC`s Employment Relations Co-ordinator echoed her sentiments saying, “What stood out was the way in which they archive and tell the story of how the SEZ evolved from the beginning to the current stage. Focus is towards the development of the citizenry and leveraging the countries’ resources for the benefit of the citizens”, he continued.

” The experience has taught me a great deal about long term planning in trying to achieve a successful SEZ and building a thriving economy, they stuck to the plan and they are now reaping the rewards. There is a lot of emphasis on education, research and development, which is what has allowed China to attain economic development in a relatively short space of time”, Thando Dlanjwa, CDC`s Project Coordinator - Special Economic Zones concludes.

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