PRETORIA -- Nine Chinese companies have committed to invest over $10 billion in Limpopo's Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ), said the Department of Trade and Industry.

This as the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and a Memorandum of Agreement (MoAs) with the Chinese companies at a ceremony in Beijing on Friday and Saturday.

Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LEDA, Ben Mphahlele, expressed his delight at the signing of the MoUs and MoAs, adding that this will add to the growth of the provincial SEZ.

We are delighted that the value of investment commitments in the Musina-Makhado SEZ continues to grow at an impressive rate. There are four projects in the SEZ, namely the power plant, coking plant, alloy factory and steel manufacturing. Today we managed to confirm investment commitments in all of them, said Mphahlele.

The brainchild of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities.

LEDA said the SEZ is generating a significant amount of interest among potential investors.

The signing ceremony said Mphahlele will be followed by due diligence as technical representatives of the companies will visit the SEZ to do various assessments on the ground before implementing their plans.

As we speak, there is a Chinese company that is conducting a feasibility study. We are looking forward to seeing the SEZ getting off the ground and beginning to change the economic landscape of Musina and Makhado by creating business and employment opportunities for the people of the Vhembe District.

He described the development of the SEZ as a game changer and expressed confidence that the positive impact of the SEZ will extend to other parts of Limpopo and other African countries such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

South Africa currently has a total of eight SEZs namely: Coega and East London IDZs in the Eastern Cape, Dube TradePort and Richards Bay IDZs in KwaZulu-Natal, OR Tambo IDZ in Gauteng, Saldanha Bay IDZ in the Western Cape, Maluti-a-Phofung IDZ in the Free State, and Musina-Makhado SEZ in Limpopo.

Meanwhile, head of department at the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo, Solly Kgopong, said the signing ceremony is a major milestone in the development of the SEZ.

We are happy that we will be returning home with concrete commitments in the form of MOUs but one of the reasons for coming here was to confirm the readiness of the Chinese companies to invest in the project.

We have been impressed by what we saw and heard during our interaction with the companies. They are ready and eager to come to South Africa and start working. The entire province, including the communities and businesses, are behind this project, said Kgopong.

He added that the SEZ was projected to contribute enormously to the country's national Gross Domestic Product once fully operational.

The signing ceremony comes as the dti is currently leading an investment roadshow to Shanghai, China, aimed at wooing investors to South African SEZs.

The roadshow got underway at the weekend and gives representatives of the South African government, implementers of the SEZ Programme and SEZs to present the value-proposition of South African SEZs to potential investors and financial institutions.

The roadshow will conclude on May 31.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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