The ERLN held a learning event on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at the East London IDZ on 11-12 July 2014. The event brought together stakeholders from the private sector, national, provincial and metropolitan government, government agencies, research organisations and academia to explore the implications of the new SEZ legislation for South Africa’s economic regions. The first morning of the event included a welcome by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality where delegates were reminded that the local government legislative framework emphasised the developmental role of municipalities, framing inputs from Kate Philip, Thomas Farole of the World Bank and Simphiwe Kondlo, CEO of the East London IDZ.
The afternoon moved to a more practical focus including inputs from Maoto Molefane of the DTI on the SEZ legislation; from Patrick Nawa, an East London IDZ investor, who talked about the steps involved in investing in an SEZ; and, from James Aiello of National Treasury on the emerging SEZ regulations. Delegates could also participate in a guided site visit of the East London IDZ. The networking event in the evening included further reflections from Patrick Nawa on his extensive experience working with SEZs in China. The heart of the second day of the event was small group reflection on key themes that had emerged using a World Café format to enable conversation and dialogue. This was supplemented by a summary of discussions on day one and a reflection on the use of graphic harvesting to enhance learning. It also included inputs such as an update on the Jobs Fund and an overview of ERLN progress and next steps.