Special Economic Zones¹ (SEZs) can accelerate Africa’s industrialisation and increase economic growth. Through using designated SEZs and collaborations like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), there are opportunities to boost trade, investment, infrastructure, employment, and entrepreneurship, and to remove barriers to doing business. Transport has a vital role to play.
The continent requires a unique approach to see progress in industrialisation, including harmonising trade policies and facilitating the free movement of goods and services as the AfCFTA envisions.²
With a prosperous future in mind, the 11th Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo takes place from 20-22 September at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC Complex in Durban. The event serves as the exclusive platform for global, public and private participants to engage in advancing and upholding Africa’s port, rail, and road infrastructure. These need to function to see Africa thrive.
“The industry will gather to deliberate trends, obstacles, and opportunities across the continent,” says Le-Ann Hare, Portfolio Director at dmg events. “In collaboration with AfCFTA, the event aligns with encouraging partnerships and a borderless Africa. Sustainable and reliable transport is key to the future of the continent overall.”
Transport is one of five priority services under the AfCFTA. “This sector should be immediately liberalised to increase intra-African trade,” says H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat, adding that collaborating with Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo will greatly accelerate the transport sector’s liberalisation under the AfCFTA.
The dedicated AfCFTA panel discussion at the event will highlight the critical role of transport services. Stakeholders will debate the opportunities and challenges to optimise transport and can engage to form partnerships to take the vision of the AfCFTA forward.
The SEZ Lounge, a special feature this year is sponsored by the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ). In armchair discussions, Dr Bheka Zulu, CEO of TASEZ will share more on unlocking synergies within SEZs and the opportunities in the Tshwane Automotive SEZ specifically, linked to sustainable business within the Blue Economy.
The SEZ Lounge will include various investment and business opportunities within the TASEZ and other SEZs on the African continent.
“We are proud sponsors of the SEZ Lounge as we believe it will bring together industry players, investors, government representatives, and other key stakeholders from the transport and logistics industry,” Zulu says. “It’s a great opportunity to establish valuable connections, engage in discussions and explore potential areas of collaborations and partnerships.”
Joining Zulu for discussions at the event are Lionel October, SEZ Unit at IDC and Chair of TASEZ, and Hamish Erskine, CEO of Dube SEZ. Discussions will also facilitate shared learnings on the considerations around selecting a SEZ.
Attendees can expect feedback on various transport hubs and their upcoming plans, including Mbahupu Hippy Tjivikua, CEO of Namibia’s Walvis Bay Corridor Group.
Delegates of Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo can enjoy featured panel discussions and presentations covering an array of topics from sustainable rail opportunities that can work for Africa to exploring the green hydrogen economy and leveraging smart technology at ports. Overcoming gaps in infrastructure to fuel Africa’s railways, reviewing road safety and standards, and building super networks within the supply chain will also be among the topics.
There will be free technical workshops available for visitors too. Topics range from considering innovative strategies and solutions to reduce carbon emissions in the road freight industry to safer fuel transportation and enhanced road transport security. Empowering women in transport and logistics, assessing the opportunities using drone technology and alternative dispute resolution are some more examples, not to be missed.
Celebrating outstanding achievements to date, the Transport Evolution Africa Awards will recognise passion and excellence this year with awards presented in categories including Technology Innovation, Equity, Diversity & Social Inclusion, Sustainability & ESG, Women’s Leadership Excellence and top Port & Terminal, Rail, and Road Operators.
The Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo is co-located with the inaugural Logistics Evolution Africa Forum & Expo, which will cover technology-based and long-term solutions for handling, moving and transporting goods effectively across the continent. Some highlights to expect are green considerations in the logistics chain, the current trends in warehousing, drone technology for route planning and streamlining logistics, to name a few.
“We have a packed agenda to inspire and ignite the way towards a thriving transport and logistics industry across an integrated Africa,” Hare concludes.
Delegates are invited to register for full access to the event. For more information and to register as a delegate or a visitor, visit: Transport Evolution Africa | 20 – 22 September 2023 | Durban, RSA