Eastern Cape’s Coega Special Economic Zone gets R2.6bn investment boost

It’s very easy to get lost in the political whirlwind we call South Africa. From the Public Protector, to the NPA right through to President Cyril Ramaphosa, a day doesn’t go by without some gasps of bewilderment, ‘it can’t be, surely’… But in amongst the tales of toil, there are green shoots that need to be shown sunlight. And having studied and lived in the Eastern Cape for half a decade, the increased investment into the region is much needed. The Coega Special Economic Zone in Nelson Mandela Bay says year to date, 18 new investors have signed R2.6bn in investments, with close to R1bn coming from the private sector. The investments are focused mainly on aquaculture and metals, and should create in excess of 2,000 jobs. – Stuart Lowman

Coega Development Corporation media statement:

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), operator of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Nelson Mandela Bay, announced today that it has secured an additional 18 new investors in the 2018/19 financial year (FY).

The 18 new investors signed amounted to R2.6bn in investments against a target of R693m for the 2018/19 FY.

New signed investments committed to Coega’s aquaculture development zone represented the largest share of investments signed in the 2018/19 FY following an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval little over a year ago.

Investments for the CDC’s aquaculture development zone came in at R848m and represented almost a third of the R2.6bn investments secured.

The private sector aquaculture investment projects included an abalone farm and a land-based aquaculture farming facility.

In the metals sector, investments with a combined value of R760m were signed which represented a third of the total investments secured by CDC in the past financial year.

The investments were for a copper smelting plant and a heavy engineering plant for steel rail wheels.

The third top performing investment sector was energy where an investment of R362m was secured from a Chinese firm involved in the manufacturing of solar photovoltaic cells.

The remaining investments were secured in automotive, chemical engineering, food and beverages, manufacturing and recycling industries with a total combined investment value of R580m. The investments included:

  • two (2) investments in agro-processing with combined investment value of R302m respectively for a citrus cold storage warehouse, container depot and pack-house, and another investment focused on processing artichokes and other high-value crops;
  • two (2) investments in the automotive sector, which included a commuter bus assembly plant (R130m), and a power bike assembly facility (investment value: undisclosed);
  • two (2) investments in chemical engineering, which included a manufacturing facility for biodegradable cleaning and related project (R40m), and a biological active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing facility (R76m);
  • three (3) investment in the food and beverage manufacturing sector including a sugar-based confectionary production facility (R600,000), and two investments valued at R32.5m by an existing CDC tenant operating in the retail salt market;
  • an investment by a logistics sector firm involved in providing goods and services in the freight movement industry (financial value: undisclosed);
  • two (2) investments for a fibre optic cabling manufacturing, and a PVC compound production facility (financial values: undisclosed), and;
  • a tyre recycling facility (financial value: undisclosed).

In the 2018/19 FY, 18% of new investments originated from China while the remaining investments emanated from South African firms.

“On an international level, the Coega SEZ remains a preferred investment destination for Chinese FDI flows and new greenfield investments in Africa. Coega will have three operational Chinese investors, including global Fortune 500 company BAIC, towards 2022,” said Dr. Ayanda Vilakazi, Head of CDC Marketing, Brand and Corporate Communications.

The new investments will certainly drive job creation in the Eastern Cape, economic growth, diversification of Nelson Mandela Bay’s economy, and provide many other socio-economic development spin-offs including empowerment, development and transformation in the broadest sense, amongst others, believes Dr. Vilakazi.

“Based on the new investments signed in the past financial year, our conservative estimations are that in excess of 2,073 jobs will be created,” he said.

This will add to the 7,815 people who are already going to work at Coega SEZ on a daily basis.

Commenting on the establishment of the Coega SEZ aquaculture development zone, Dr. Vilakazi said the CDC has received Phase 1 funding for earthworks to develop road and basic infrastructure for its aquaculture development zone (ADZ), which is currently underway.

“In addition, we are undertaking a feasibility study for the cultivation of Atlantic Salmon a popular species for commercial fishing,” he said.

In relation to agro-processing, Dr. Vilakazi noted that current tenants were busy with several expansions, and that the CDC continues to remain committed to looking at programmes and solutions to expand value chains for agro-processing sectors within a 120km radius of the Coega SEZ.

“Another promising venture which we are busy investigating relates to the cultivation and processing of high-value products from Cannabis for pharmaceutical industries,” he said.