Rob Davies says that the production of up to 5 000 trucks at the newly launched First Automobile Works (FAW) vehicle assembly plant in Coega, Port Elizabeth, is good news for job creation in the country.
Speaking before President Jacob Zuma launched the R600-million plant on Thursday, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, said hundreds of jobs would result from FAW operations in the Eastern Cape.
Located in Zone 2 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), the production plant is funded jointly by China FAW Group Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund. It is one of the largest investments made by a Chinese company in the country.
“We are welcoming phase one today, which will see the production of up to 5 000 trucks in this plant creating 400 jobs.
“The second phase, which is envisaged to manufacture 30 000 passenger vehicles, can increase jobs to a thousand.
“We know that we can multiply those jobs if and when we start attracting the component manufactures to come here and be part of the programme as well,” he said.
Minister Davies said the unveiling of the Chinese vehicle manufacturing plant in South Africa is the culmination of a journey his department took to engage the Eastern Cape provincial government and the Coega Development Corporation to get a Chinese motor manufacturer to operate in South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma, who officially launched the assembly plant, said FAW had chosen the right continent in which to invest at this point in world economic history.
He said the African continent is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world and there remains greater potential for further growth, particularly in the transport of goods as trade volumes increase.
“The entire African continent is also embarking on an intensive infrastructure development aimed at also encouraging intra-Africa trade through improved connectivity.
“The Regional Economic Communities, namely the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for East and Southern Africa and the East African Community, are in negotiations to achieve a Free Trade Area (FTA).
“The project will bring together 26 countries with a combined population of 600 million and an overall GDP of approximately US $2 trillion,” he said.
The FTA would present significant opportunities and the right climate for doing business.
President Zuma said in order to make the country globally competitive, South Africa would have to focus on ensuring a secure supply of energy. The focus over the next five years would be on building a sustainable energy mix that includes coal, solar, wind, nuclear and shale gas.
The President said he expected to see an increase in inter-country trade, and also initiatives to help landlocked countries access harbours.
“Also envisaged is the creation of much needed direct routes between capitals of the continent and to promote the economic and social integration of Africa.
“The increase in trade will contribute towards a growing demand for heavy commercial vehicles, thus expanding markets for FAW and other companies in this sector,” he said.
In line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the New Growth Path (NGP), government is investing heavily in local and continental infrastructure development in the medium to long term.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Tia Xuejun, said: “I believe FAW South Africa would make efforts to yield a double harvest of both economic benefit and social benefit by profoundly integrating with the local communities and earnestly performing its social responsibilities, while being devoted to its production and operation.
“I am also convinced that the South African government, especially at the local level of this province, will continue to care and support the follow-up development of this plant, and provide guidance in accordance with laws and regulations necessary to guarantee [this] production and operation.” – SAnews.gov.za
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2014/07/good-news-for-job-creation/