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Industrial parks South Africa – today, tomorrow together

On 19th September 2020 the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in collaboration with National Treasury, National Cleaner Production Centre-South Africa (NCPC-SA) and GIZ Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) hosted the first Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue under the theme Progress and Charting of the Way Forward for the Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme. This event was followed by the National Eco-Industrial Park Day on 12 October 2023 (National EIP Day) which was jointly hosted by NCPC-SA and the dtic. NatuReS participated at the National EIP Day and presented on Rethinking Industrial Parks in South Africa. Both events were attended by over 80 delegates respectively and they provided a formidable platform to map out the current challenges and interventions around industrial parks in South Africa. Additionally, the two events enabled discourse and ideation on innovating solutions to unlock the development potential of industrial parks in the country.  To this end, this article seeks to synthesise and capture the discussions and insights generated by outlining the current landscape, discussing what could be done and how can we collectively overcome the existing challenges in industrial areas.

Flyer industrial parks futures dialogue ©Amanda Nyingwa

Today – the  current landscape

The current picture of public-owned industrial parks and economic zones ( for purpose of article collectively referred to as industrial areas) in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa is not encouraging Industrial areas struggle with attracting and retaining tenants, contributing towards employment creation and with implementing measures to overcome the fundamental obstacles to industrialisation in a particular country.  In particular, industrial areas in South Africa are confronted with a myriad of climate and environmental risks which disrupt their operational abilities.  As pointed out in Dr Lawrence’s presentation at the National EIP Day, the severe flooding which affected the Prospecton Industrial Area in Durban Kwa-Zulu Natal province, where the Toyota manufacturing plant is also located resulted in a 25 week shut down and an estimated of 68,600 vehicles being destroyed.

Screenshot Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue ©Amanda Nyingwa

Tomorrow – what can be done and where to for industrial areas

A business unusual approach is required to turn around the current reality of industrial parks. This was the sentiment echoed by presenters at both events. To realise this endeavour, it is important to address inadequacies in key basic factors needed for successfully running industrial areas. Basic factors include governance and institutional arrangements, financing, safety and security along with other factors. Additionally, industrial areas need to seize new opportunities brought on by technology and move towards eco-industrial development if they are to overcome current challenges.

Stakeholder attending National EIP Day © NCPC-SA

Together – how can this all be realised

To tackle the current challenges faced by industrial parks and take advantage of new opportunities, multistakeholder partnerships were recognised as critical catalytic platforms in both events. In addition, knowledge and information-sharing sessions were also identified as key pillars. This underscored the importance of platforms like the National EIP Day and Industrial Parks Futures Dialogue as critical spaces for bringing together sector stakeholders as well as facilitating dialogue and discourse which has the potential to realise impactful multistakeholder partnerships.   The content covered in the two events highlighted that South Africa’s goal towards globally connected, regionally integrated and locally relevant will not be an easy one. Several key steps will be required in order to address the bottlenecks however, there are a range of opportunities to be exploited including the EIP concept for transitioning industrial parks into green industrial spaces. Furthermore, multistakeholder partnerships are emerging as critical vehicles for addressing challenges. On the subject of multistakeholder partnerships, NatuReS developed the  Natural Resources Risks and Action Framework which serves as a supportive toolbox to tackle shared risks together with stakeholders from affected businesses, communities, and governments.

Dr Faith Lawrence speaking at National EIP Day ©NCPC-SA

Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in South African schools through cross-sectoral partnership

There is a growing recognition of how poor environmental conditions, particularly lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), negatively affect the most vulnerable – children’s health and, as a result, their school performance. However, these issues are all interlinked. For example, lack of toilets leads to the contamination of water resources; and without clean water, basic hygiene practices cannot be followed.

hand washing
Access to WASH is particularly important in schools, for kids to learn in a safe environment. Image by Freepik

Improving WASH in Schools requires collaborative effort

Understanding and addressing these complex interactions requires diverse and nuanced perspectives from a range of stakeholders and a concerted and collaborative effort to address these challenges across sectors. In the South African context, there are myriad challenges to providing adequate WASH in schools. To complicate matters, different challenges to WASH access and infrastructure pose different challenges and risks at different ages, and for different genders. Younger children, for instance, are at risk of drowning in pit latrines that are not properly managed and maintained. Young girls face numerous challenges related to menstrual hygiene and access to sanitary products. All of this means that providing access to adequate WASH facilities is not only a human rights issue, but an issue of dignity.

Progress towards adequate WASH has been made – but more is needed

While the proportion of people with access to an improved water source has increased, the standards of this access have not been maintained at the same rate, and the proportion of people with access to a water service that is “available when needed” has actually decreased. Recent surveys have also shown that progress on sanitation provision has stalled, with reaching the final 20% proving to be the most difficult to address.

community facilities South Africa
While significant progress has made in providing WASH facilities in communities, backlogs remain. Pictured are community facilities in a South African neighbourhood. Copyright: GIZ/Douglas Momberg

Although backlogs remain, significant progress has been made in providing WASH facilities in communities and schools. For example, over the past decade, children’s access to WASH facilities has increased significantly, largely due to increased urbanisation. In addition, the private sector has been very active in this area, supporting WASH in Schools (WinS), water loss reduction, water access and water quality issues.

A cross-sectoral partnership to strengthen WASH in Schools

To support this progress, NatuReS is partnering with GIZ’s DeveloPPP project, which oversees development partnerships with the private sector, in this case consumer packaged goods company Unilever, to implement systemic approaches to improve WASH in Schools in South Africa. 

Applying the globally proven Fit for School approach, the initiative aims to strengthen operations and maintenance activities in schools, address challenges related to menstrual health and hygiene, and bolster pandemic preparedness and response plans. The team has identified 12 schools in two provinces (Eastern Cape and Gauteng) to pilot and model this approach in urban informal settings.

A joint way forward

Exciting developments include initial meetings with schools, local communities, and provincial and district education officials during August, with a Fit for School intervention tailored to the South African context to be launched in September 2023. Watch this space for updates!

Dance4WASH – Bringing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) habits to life through dance in Zambia

“Let’s dance our way to a cleaner world!” This and many other catchy slogans defined the “WATERPROOF PROJECT”. In this project, rhythm meets hygiene in a captivating way, designed to raise awareness about the importance of water sanitation and hygiene across schools in Lusaka.

The “WATERPROOF PROJECT”, also known as “Dance4WASH Zambia”, is an awareness-raising campaign conducted from 5th to 23rd June 2023 as part of the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI). Viva con Agua provided financial support for the campaign, which took place in five selected schools across Lusaka: Chibolya Combined School, Lilayi Secondary School, Fight Poverty Community School, Mtendere Primary School and Chainama Special School. The campaign aims to promote proper WASH practices and facilitates improved access to WASH information, with a particular emphasis on handwashing, using dance as a tool for awareness-raising.

Learners from Chainama Special School learning the "WASHIT" song
Learners from Chainama Special School learning the “WASHIT” song. Copyright: LuWSI

The campaign was launched during a LuWSI Child Focus Session at the 11th Zambia Water Forum and Exhibition held at Mulungunshi Conference Centre on 13th June. The session was attended by Hon. Mike Mposha, the Zambian Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, who urged all stakeholders to engage with communities to promote hygiene messages. Hon. Mposha also emphasised the need to improve water supply and sanitation in schools, as water is the first line of defence against diseases.

The project received support from key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and the Lusaka District Health Office, as well as LuWSI partners such as CaDev-Capacity Development, Lusaka City Council, WaterAid Zambia, the Centre for Water, Sanitation and Rehabilitation (WASARec) and NatuReS.

Click here to watch Ndine Emma explain the making-off of the song. Copyrigh: Dance4WASH

To drum up support and interest among children, the campaign worked with local singer/songwriter sensation “Ndine Emma” to develop an infectious and lively beat that children could easily grove to. His involvement also made him a significant promoter of the hygiene message through dance. Furthermore, the campaign partnered with the local dance crew, Afro Fusion, to bring the song to life. The dance crew collaborated with students in schools to craft a choreography, which they then performed to their peers during the school assembly. This helped convey the handwashing message of “dancing your way to a healthier future”.

Ndine Emma promoting hygiene with his hit song "WASHIT" Copyright: LuWSI 2023
Ndine Emma promoting hygiene with his hit song “WASHIT”. Copyright: LuWSI

Pupils and teachers enjoyed the innovative campaign, with kids taking up the challenge to interpret the song and dance moves in their own unique way. The campaign’s success and inspiration was based on the collaboration between partners on the LuWSI platform, particularly under the Green Schools partnership programme. LuWSI partners continue to foster multi-stakeholder cooperation to promote water, sanitation and hygiene which will contribute to the water security of the city.

Click here to see a pupil demonstrating his Dance4WASH skills!

Author: Sonile Mutafya, NatuReS Advisor Zambia

10th International Sustainable Industrial Areas Conference in Cairo

Strengthening Regional Industrial Competitiveness and Economic Resilience

Industrialisation is a priority for many governments in developing and emerging economies. While it comes with strong potential for economic growth, social and environmental consequences of an accelerating industrialisation need to be considered.

Therefore, the 6th to 7th of June 2023 witnessed the convening of the 10th International Sustainable Industrial Areas Conference (SIA Conference) in Cairo, Egypt. Curated under the theme “Strengthening Regional Industrial Competitiveness and Economic Resilience”, the two-day event provided an important platform for lively debates, insightful engagements, and learning exchanges. Prior to the event, pre-conference site visits were conducted with four industrial parks located in Cairo; namely Polaris International Industrial Parks, CPC Industrial Park, ElSewedy 10th Industrial Park and Industrial Development Group (IDG).

“10th International Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) Conference”, June 2023.

During the two days, around 250 attendees representing multiple sectors from more than 20 countries converged to cover diverse topics, ranging from just transition towards carbon neutrality through industrial symbiosis and circular economy approaches as well as the role of private sector development. Furthermore, presentations were held on several topics, including financing SIA, SIA concept planning and capacity building, as well as the creation of green jobs. The Natural Resources Stewardship Programme, represented by Ms Amanda Nyingwa, presented at the conference on Methodologies for Supporting Sustainability and Resilience in Economic Zones.

Sustainable Industrial Areas Conference group picture
SIA conference attendees ©SIA Conference

Key takeaways

The rich information emanating from presentations, site visits and more informally during walkthroughs of exhibited booths from industrial developers brought about the following key takeaways for the aim of strengthening regional industrial competitiveness and economic resilience:

  • Mainstream the unconventional – “inclusivity and liveability” – for a competitive industrial park: Ensuring an inclusive and liveable industrial park is still relatively viewed as unconventional.  However, these very aspects make an industrial park competitive in terms of investor location and potential employees, as it allows firms to attract the best talent.  As examples, IDG has integrated a pharmacy, day care centre, hotel and coordinated transport facilities for workers within their park; similarly this is the case for CPC Industrial Park. These unconventional additions which strike a balance between social and economic needs have the potential to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of these industrial areas.
Hotel and co-working space at IDG Industrial Park. ©GIZ/Amanda Nyingwa
  • Capacity building matters for informed uptake of sustainable industrial area concepts: Ensuring integration of sustainable industrial development approaches is a highly engaging process which can often be overwhelming for industrialists and developers. As a result, lesson learning events and capacity building initiatives which help them navigate and map out context-specific measures for sustainable industrial development are vital. Therefore, as more industries and industrial areas are compelled to transition towards cleaner production processes, it is imperative that a broader suit of capacity building initiatives are unveiled – particularly through development organisations like GIZ, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and World Bank.
Mrs Elvira Kanichay from GIZ Egypt providing the opening address ©SIA Conference
  • Private sector is under pressure to ensure green production – what stimulants exists to move things forward? A keyacknowledgement during the conference was that manufactures and private sector understand the urgency for cleaner and more resource efficient production. This acknowledgement was also followed with the question on what resources exists to stimulate, incentivise and recognise efforts for cleaner production? The Eco-Industrial Park Framework, the Net Zero Water Concept and the Access to Finance Tool developed by the National Cleaner Production Centre in South Africa were some of the resources tabled. Additionally, an announcement of steps towards ensuring that the EIP Framework is translated to ISO Standard was mentioned as one of the levers for recognising green production. However, it is clear that more action is required to stimulate efforts for resource efficiency and cleaner production.  
  • Bold action and collective efforts are needed from public, private sector and civil society – Bold action is needed from the public sector on eco-industrial development. This action can take the form of political will or be more institutionalised in the form of national policy or decrees. The latter is the case with Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment. Such bold actions support collective movements towards ensuring that the industrial park landscape of a country embodies eco-industrial development across various levels. In addition, it catalyses action for cross-sectoral collaboration with private sector and civil society within industrial areas. Multistakeholder partnerships facilitated through the NatuReS Natural Risk and Assessment Framework have proven to be critical vehicles for driving localised action while offering potential for wider societal benefits.
Amanda Nyingwa presenting on cross-sectoral action for sustainable industrial areas
NatuReS Advisor Amanda Nyingwa facilitating Session 4: Show cases for SIA Transformation ©GIZ/Amanda Nyingwa

About SIA Conference Concept and Convenors

The International Conferences on Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) bring experts from all over the world together to discuss recent trends, best practices, and future development of SIA. The conferences serve as an international platform for exchanging knowledge about sustainable industrial development of industrial areas worldwide. In the past, there have been similar International SIA Conferences in India, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The approach of “Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA)” promotes sustainable industrial development by balancing environmental, economic, and social aspects.

The SIA Conference was organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under the “Invest for Jobs” programme and as part of implementing the special initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” (SI Jobs) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Economic Development (BMZ). The conference is jointly organized with the World Bank Group (WBG) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) – together with the Egyptian Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) and the Industrial Development Authority of Egypt (IDA).