Manufacturing Indaba to focus on SA opportunities
By Melania Simeon
The fourth annual Manufacturing Indaba is set to kick off in South Africa next week with the aim of growing manufacturers.
Organisers of the two-day event that brings together experts and thought leaders from SA’s manufacturing industry, both in the public and private sector, said the indaba would see keynote addresses and panel discussions with a focus on the future and opportunities of manufacturing in South Africa.
The annual event is the leading manufacturing business platform exploring the manufacturing growth, sharing ideas in the manufacturing industry and looking at ways to grow and improve the industry at large.
Although economic pressure experienced in the last few years has brought with it serious challenges, it is believed that the African continent remains resilient and the non-resource dependant economies are sustaining higher growth for a longer period. With dynamic private sectors, entrepreneurial spirit and vast resources, Africa has the potential to grow even faster and more inclusively.
The indaba will also host two renowned African industry leaders, Ally Angula, the director and founder of Leap Holdings, Namibia, and Vishal Agarwal from GE Africa in Kenya, who will share insight into the opportunities for collaboration and adding value to other African countries, bringing with them an understanding of the importance of promoting integrated regional markets and the ability it has to improve the chances of attracting FDI to South Africa and Africa alike.
Other topics to be discussed include promoting deeper regional integration in goods and services within Africa which would generate the right conditions for the emergence of “Factory Southern Africa”, a regional value chain that could feed into global production networks and boost manufacturing through intraregional trade.
The meeting will also discuss how South Africa could play a central role in such a chain, leveraging the scale of the regional market, exploiting sources of comparative advantage across Africa to reduce production costs, while providing other countries in the region with a platform for reaching global markets.
The organisers said the indaba would also identify South African companies as some of the largest investors in other parts of Southern Africa and that it was imperative that SA contributes to their continental partners.
Emphasis would also be put on regional infrastructure projects, harmonisation of industrial policy, national economic goals as well as reforms to reduce other costs of trading across borders, enabling domestic firms to produce quality products at a competitive price.
The organisers believe the degree to which SA manufacturers would be able to leverage opportunities in Africa would be a significant driver of their attractiveness to investors all over the world and the terms of trade they are able to negotiate with their non-African trade partners.