Atlantis SEZ Drives Growth in Green Technology and Renewable Energy

Earth Day Engagement Highlights Economic and Environmental Progress in South Africa

by Adenike Adeodun

On Earth Day, the Atlantis Special Economic Zone Company (ASEZCo) held a crucial stakeholder engagement session to discuss its strides in the development of green technology and renewable energy. The ASEZCo, entrenched in its commitment to South Africa’s green economy, has been forging ahead with initiatives that not only address critical energy challenges but also promise substantial economic benefits.

Matthew Cullinan, CEO of ASEZCo, shared his enthusiasm for the collaborative efforts that are setting the stage for significant economic transformation in the region. “Our collaborative spirit is pivotal. Together, we are set to catalyze transformative change, ushering in new opportunities and economic prosperity,” he said. This event was not just about sharing updates but also about rallying further support from private and public sector investors to continue the momentum.

The session underscored ASEZCo’s successes, particularly highlighting an impressive investment pipeline amounting to R16 billion, which promises to create 2,500 direct jobs. This is in addition to the R3.4 billion already invested, which has generated 800 jobs so far. These figures represent not only capital influx but also crucial job creation in the green tech sector, a cornerstone of ASEZCo’s mission.

The development of the zone utilizes smart and sustainable principles, integrating cutting-edge technologies and eco-friendly construction practices. For example, the zone features water management systems, solar-powered streetlights, and roads made from recycled plastics, emphasizing the drive towards lower carbon emissions and efficient resource use.

Construction in Zone 1 of the ASEZ is progressing, with completion expected by October 2024. This 22-hectare area will feature 11 plots ready for leasing, with one already designated to a tenant. These facilities are designed to be fully serviced, including security, landscaping, maintenance, and fiber connectivity, creating an optimal environment for businesses to thrive.

In addition to infrastructure development, ASEZCo is significantly focused on social impact, particularly through enhancing skills development and supporting local enterprises. More than 35% of the contract value for the construction of Zone 1 has been allocated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), promoting local entrepreneurship and job growth beyond the construction phase.

A highlight of ASEZCo’s community engagement is the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program. In collaboration with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), this initiative has already supported 40 Grade 8 learners from Atlantis in acquiring skills in programming, robotics, and artificial intelligence. These skills are crucial for equipping the local youth for the demands of a modern, technology-driven job market.

The event also featured a panel discussion titled “Growing and Building the Green Investment Ecosystem,” which included contributions from partners like Wesgro, GreenCape, the City of Cape Town, and the Western Cape Government. The discussions focused on strategies to enhance sustainable investment practices and strengthen the region’s green economy.

Mireille Wenger, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, emphasized the alignment of the ASEZ with broader regional economic goals. “The Atlantis SEZ is a beacon of green investment, showcasing what we can achieve when we commit to sustainable technology. This isn’t just beneficial for the environment—it’s smart economics,” Wenger noted, highlighting the economic rationale behind green investments.

The Atlantis SEZ is positioned as a catalyst for not only fostering a robust green economy in the Western Cape but also for setting a standard for similar initiatives globally. By integrating technological advancements with environmental stewardship, the zone is paving the way for a sustainable future that promises economic growth, job creation, and enhanced community well-being.

The stakeholder engagement session on Earth Day was more than a progress report; it was a reaffirmation of ASEZCo’s commitment to driving the green economy forward. With substantial investments, innovative development strategies, and a clear focus on community and environmental benefits, the Atlantis Special Economic Zone is poised to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s transition to a sustainable economic model. The ongoing support from investors, the community, and the government will be crucial in realizing these ambitious goals, as the ASEZ continues to evolve into a hub of green technology and sustainable development.

Source: ESI Africa

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