Atlantis aims for industrial development | Fin24
 
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Atlantis aims for industrial development

Nov 03 2014 17:45
Fin24

Hisense workers place components on boards in the flat screen TV production process at the factory in Atlantis. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Atlantis - The South African government has identified industrial development as the key to developing a successful and prosperous nation.

With this in mind, the department of trade & industry (DTI) is following an industrial development strategy that, among other levers, uses special economic zones (SEZs) to encourage industrial development.
 
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.

There are ten planned SEZs across the country focussed on sectors such as agri-processing, minerals beneficiation, logistics, renewable energy and petro-chemicals, which are based on the sectors requiring critical support as identified by the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap).
 
Atlantis has for a long time been viewed as Cape Town’s forgotten community with high unemployment figures and very little access to opportunity.

Atlantis’ history, though riddled with disappointment of migration of companies out of Atlantis when subsidies and incentives were withdrawn, is a history nonetheless of a community that was once an established industrial centre.

This means that there is a current unemployed workforce that has previously acquired the basic minimum skills required by industry which operated there before. The community also boasts built environment infrastructure and a working eco-system of stakeholders working together to re-establish industry in the area.

The road infrastructure for transportation of goods and the MyCiti bus routes has also raised the prominence of Atlantis as a location to conduct business.

The factors above provide the purpose of applying for the designation of Atlantis as an SEZ, which is to utilise the multi-layers of support to encourage industrial growth and job creation in the area.

Along with government’s economic policy incentives, the Western Cape provincial government has also highlighted the goal of developing the West Coast as a green economy hub.

Investment incentive scheme

The City of Cape Town demonstrated their commitment to Atlantis by announcing an investment incentive scheme early in 2013.

Atlantis was identified as a suitable pilot as it boasts a large skilled labour force (technicians, administrative, supervisory), large brown field sites available at very competitive prices, good infrastructure and effective and reliable services (like water and electricity supply).

The scheme benefits include financial and non-financial measures and apply to any business intending to locate to or expand operations within the Atlantis industrial area.

Scarcity of natural resources and global warming has sparked growing international interest in green technology. GreenTech, as it is more commonly known, is a way of offering energy security at a reasonable cost.

GreenTech encompasses various aspects of technology which helps reduce the human impact on the environment & creates ways of sustainable development. It includes sustainable manufacturing, green buildings, fuel efficient transportation, paperless offices, energy efficiency measures and waste recycling.

With the infrastructure, labour force, incentive benefits and land available, Atlantis is proving to be a community with great potential waiting to be harnessed.

Atlantis GreenTech SEZ is one of the mechanisms aimed at creating an enabling environment for positive economic development.

The SEZ will focus on GreenTech industrialisation in Atlantis. GreenCape is the project management office on behalf of the DTI, provincial government and the City of Cape Town for the application for designation in Atlantis.

The application is expected to be made before the end of 2014.

Atlantis Greentech SEZ will focus on growing the green technology sector in the Western Cape, promoting the revitalisation of Atlantis as a key industrial node in the region, impacting employment opportunities and attracting domestic and foreign direct investment into the area.

“GreenCape is hoping Atlantis will be one of the first zones designated by the department of trade  and industry,” said Mike Mulcahy, project executive for Atlantis SEZ.

“Designation is viewed as a logical extension to the province’s ongoing efforts to position itself as Africa’s greentech manufacturing hub, as outlined in a recently published green economy strategy framework,” said Mulcahy.

The SEZ application will be considered by the provincial government and by the city before the end of the year. Thereafter, a formal application will be made to national government for designation.

- Fin24

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