The Gauteng provincial government and the federal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have requested interested parties to submit business partnership proposals
As of April 29, the South African government has released an announcement that they are looking for proposals to “unlock economic opportunities and job creation” through the development of the cannabis vertical.
The specific areas for development being considered include:
Funding and capitalization ideas to underwrite both hemp and cannabis cultivation, processing, and distribution.
Exchange, trading, and aggregation platforms for both domestic and export purposes. This will include both certification and QA processing.
Aggregation schemes for the vertical.
Carbon reduction and other phytoremediation programs including the rehabilitation of lands devastated by mining.
The Gauteng government is offering both leases on state-owned land as well as tenancy in special economic zones created specifically for this purpose.
This development is a direct outgrowth of the announcement by the premier of Gauteng, David Makhura in February of this year.
The focus, for now at least, is to build a “cannabis hub” focusing on medical and industrial use rather than the creation of a recreational market.
A Key Economic Differentiator
South Africa has taken a global lead in focusing on the development of the cannabis industry, unseen anywhere else in the world to date. The hope is that by developing a high-tech agricultural industry here, the government will open the door to over 130,000 new jobs being created by industry partners.
These efforts have not gone entirely unnoticed by the rest of the world. Greece has been on a cannabis development path to attract foreign investment for the past several years, although Covid and the lack of reform in the rest of Europe has put a dent in those plans as well as delayed them. So has the Channel Island of Guernsey.
Beyond Greece and Guernsey in Europe, several Latin American countries are now examining the sector for the same reason, although the countries that are most interested in the same may run into issues that South Africa will not. Namely, that rainforests will be further decimated by landless farmers looking to produce cannabis.
So far, in South Africa, the focus has been to create a planned “cannabis hub” and further to focus on cultivation that also has an environmental slant to it.
Sadly, more developed countries have not followed suit. However, as the project in South Africa develops, it will be interesting to see the impact elsewhere as reform continues to progress globally.