Investment promotion agencies and special economic zone authorities from China, South Africa and Sri Lanka have won awards for their excellence in promoting sustainable investment in special economic zones.
They received the awards on November 11 during the eleventh session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission held at the UN’s offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
The awards were presented at the second Ambassadors’ Roundtable on Investing in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event attended by 31 ambassadors from developed and developing countries as well as those with economies in transition featured a keynote address by the chief executive officer of food and beverage company Nestlé, Mark Schneider.
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka won for its strategic approach in targeting investors in solar panel manufacturing and for facilitating a $36 million investment by JSF Corporation, a subsidiary of REK Co. Ltd. from Japan.
This first solar panel manufacturing project in Sri Lanka, located in the Katunayake Export Processing Zone, produces for both the domestic and export markets and contributes to the country’s goal to boost renewable energy. The project has created 100 direct and 500 indirect jobs.
The Guangzhou Development District Administration Committee from China won for its instrumental role in realizing the GE BioCampus project, a partnership between General Electric and the Guangzhou Development District.
The project put in place sound infrastructure and policies, introduced upstream and downstream enterprises, and created a biopharmaceutical production centre for anti-tumour drugs. The campus will be China’s largest monoclonal antibody biopharmaceutical production base, providing accessible and more affordable anti-tumour drugs.
The total investment in the project by the Guangzhou Development District, General Electric and other biopharmaceutical companies is around $800 million and the campus is expected to employ more than 1,500 people.
Invest Durban and Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone from South Africa won for their role in setting up partnerships and positioning the region as an attractive destination for high-value-added and export-oriented technology production.
The award particularly recognizes the facilitation of an investment of $100 million by Mara Phones, which is part of the Mara Group based in Dubai, for the manufacturing of smartphones in the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone.
This first smartphone manufacturing plant in South Africa will produce phones with functionalities that enable e-learning, with fast data communication and interpretation qualities, and include applications that provide better access to health services. The project has created 200 permanent jobs and will generate an additional 600 jobs in its second phase.
UNCTAD’s Director of Investment and Enterprise, James Zhan, said “projects and initiatives of this nature are needed to fill the funding shortfall of trillions of dollars to achieve the SDGs.”
He called on investment promotion agencies and special economic zones to direct more foreign investment to SDG-related projects.
UNCTAD awards investment promotion agencies and other organisations for their efforts to promote investment for sustainable development. For the past three years, the awards have been dedicated to promoting investment that contributes to the SDGs.
Since 2002, 58 agencies and organisations from 46 countries have received awards or special recognition from UNCTAD for best practices in investment promotion and facilitation.