What a successful SEZ could mean for Atlantis business
  Jul 4, 2019     News, general, Atlantis, GreenCape, Cape Town, business, greentech, investment, green economy, Green Tech, Atlantis SEZ, international

Afrikaans version here.

IsiXhosa version here.

It is estimated that by 2030, $90 USD trillion would have been invested in the global green economy. The Atlantis SEZ for Green Technologies, which was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2018, aims to tap into this opportunity by attracting foreign and domestic investment, and in the process, creating jobs and developing the regional economy.


SEZs around the world face tremendous challenges and unfortunately many do not succeed. However, a successful Atlantis SEZ could attract investments of R3.7 billion by 2030, creating 3,000 jobs. To date, the zone already has attracted R700 million in investment and has created 312 jobs. 


For businesses in Atlantis that operate outside of the zone, a successful and thriving SEZ will have a number of direct benefits.


One benefit is the development of regional infrastructure (such as roads, electricity networks and internet connectivity). In Atlantis, the preparation of the supporting infrastructure for the zone and Atlantis Industria by the City of Cape Town already has led to an improvement in the electricity supply, broadband (through a fiber optic network) and the public transport system (through the MyCiti Bus System). 


A successful SEZ would also mean continued and growing investments in local enterprise and skills development efforts. The proposed plan for the SEZ includes continued support for promising start-ups, training in specialised fields and ongoing work with the young people in Atlantis, to prepare them to tap into the opportunities offered by the SEZ. To date, over 700 young people have participated in a range of youth skills development efforts (such as the Ikamva Youth Tutoring Programme, the Atlantis Renewable Energy Challenge and the Career Expo). 


With international investors setting up manufacturing in the SEZ, a potential benefit for some businesses is the opportunity to join global value chains. For Atlantis businesses that provide goods or services in these value chains, a successful SEZ could be a vehicle to help them overcome barriers to growth and internationalisation. Atlantis businesses could, for instance provide businesses operating in the SEZ with direct and locally-produced or imported goods and services. In order to tap into this future opportunity, businesses will need to develop to be competitive, with attractive pricing, quality and service offerings in order to respond to requests for proposals from these investors.


How would businesses be able to tap into opportunities in the zone?


Opportunities in the zone would include:

  1. Becoming an SEZ investor and tapping into the national SEZ incentives. This would be available to businesses who apply with a new venture or expansion in green technologies. There is more information here on how to go about this. 

  2. Becoming a service provider to investors in the zone. Investors in the zone would require various inputs and services which they may procure directly from the market.

  3. Becoming a service provider to the management and operations of the SEZ itself. Developing and operating an SEZ will require various support services that the eventual SEZ operating entity would procure directly.


According to the proposed plan for the SEZ, information on tenders and procurement should be made available through a number of different channels to ensure fair and equal access to opportunities. Currently, tender and procurement opportunities are shared through direct channels, with proposed plans to create an online portal for opportunities, and to continue to communicate opportunities, information and news via email, and social media.


SEZ investors, the management of the Atlantis SEZ, and any related entities currently follow their own due processes for direct procurement. This may mean that tenders are posted online on a specific entity’s website and/or through a tender portal, such as a recent tender shared by Wesgro. Wesgro is mandated by the Provincial Government to set up the Atlantis SEZ management entity. 


In November 2018, a community workshop on enterprise development highlighted the desire  for an online portal to ensure that stakeholders would always have access to the latest information and opportunities at their fingertips, and have the ability to review SEZ-related information. This has been drafted into the proposed plan for the SEZ to implement. 


The role of the Atlantis SEZ Community Stakeholder Network (ASEZ-CSN)


The ASEZ-CSN’s primary role is to represent the needs and interests of the community and businesses in matters relating to the Atlantis SEZ, and to act as a channel of communication between the Atlantis SEZ and the local community. 


The members of the ASEZ-CSN, who will be introduced to the community on 18 July 2019 will also monitor measures of social impact provided by the ASEZ, in order to  ensure that there are opportunities for the community, including access to training, enterprise development and employment.


What is next for local business?


Businesses who are interested in opportunities are encouraged to monitor the Wesgro website,  independent tender portals and the interim SEZ webpage. They should also register on the Western Cape Government Supplier Database and the central supplier database


For more information about the upcoming community meeting on 18 July, please contact Charlotte Perang on charlotte@green-cape.co.za.