(AGI) - Cape Town, Aug 19 - South Africa's Coega Development Corporation, a state-owned company in the Eastern Cape province, has signed a R11 billion (about 719 million Euro) investment deal with the Beijing Automobile International Corporation for a completely knocked down automotive manufacturing plant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). The Coega IDZ, 11 500 hectares of industrial land located close to the bustling Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in Port Elizabeth, offers investors a place to establish operations in South Africa. The pioneering multi-billion rand project aims to drive local and foreign direct investments in export-oriented industries, thereby positioning South Africa as the hub for Southern African trade. The investment, the biggest automotive investment deal in Africa in the last 40 years, is an outcome of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that was held in Johannesburg in the Gauteng province in December 2015, where South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping signed no less than 26 bilateral agreements valued at approximately R100 billion (about 6 billion Euro). South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said in a media statement the investment was "significant" and deepened the country's economic relationship with China. "The size of this investment demonstrates confidence by China and confidence in South Africa as an investment destination," he said. He added that the project positions the Eastern Cape as an automotive hub and has the potential of deepening the component supply chain, job creation and economic development.The Coega IDZ, which is adjacent to the Port of Ngqura and a few kilometres from Port Elizabeth harbour, is the only IDZ to be designated with a custom control area enabling qualifying investors to benefit from customs duty and value-added tax (levied on goods and services) incentives. Over the last four years the Coega Development Corporation has signed up 54 new investors with a combined investment value of R31.9 billion (about 2 billion Euro). (AGI) .