The Western Cape is set to become the green hub of Africa following the Cabinet’s approval of the designation of the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will benefit the area’s residents with the creation of many jobs. Photo: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Following years of preparation, President Cyril Ramaphosa will next week officially launch the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which is expected to create thousands of jobs in the Western Cape.

The launch of the 124.5-hectare area is designated for the establishment of a green technologies hub in the Western Cape, following approval by Cabinet in June. 

SEZs are used by the government to drive industrial and economic development with cluster industries from a particular sector located in geographically designated areas to get the benefits of scale and co-location. They are supported by a range of incentives aimed at attracting local and foreign investment.

Trade and industry minister Rob Davies said the Western Cape provincial government in partnership with the city of Cape Town established a manufacturing hub for green technologies in Atlantis in 2011 which attracted large investors even before the designation was official.

"A combined R1.8 billion is expected to be invested in the SEZ by 2022, with the creation of 1,200 direct jobs. A total of 24,000 full time equivalent jobs are also expected to be created in the SEZ's 20-year lifespan. Four of these investors are already operational with more expected to take occupancy within the SEZ in future once when the facility is fully operational," Davies said.

"This development will also allow the people of Atlantis to become involved in economic opportunities right on their doorsteps, and play an integral part in growing their economy. The Atlantis community will be given priority in terms of job opportunities and opportunities for small, micro and medium enterprises."

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said as a green investment destination, the province offered major opportunities for investors in energy services, utility scale solar and wind, waste, water, bioeconomy and resource efficiency.

"We have identified the green economy, together with agri-processing and tourism, as key sectors under the Western Cape's economic strategy, Project Khulisa. It focuses on sectors that prioritise jobs for young people, has a significant jobs impact in rural areas and opportunities for people with entry-level skills," Zille said.

- African News Agency (ANA)