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In a pressing endeavor to advance economic growth in developing nations, governments are harnessing strategies focused on the economic empowerment of women. Studies reveal that when women are economically enabled, countries observe a boost in income generation, wealth creation and economic diversification. In this regard, African governments need to prioritise inclusive industrialisation where women and their male counterparts co-function to spearhead the continent’s economy.

South Africa will host its annual Manufacturing Indaba on 25th – 26th of June 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre in the heart of Africa’s economic hub, Johannesburg. The conference will assemble representatives from public and private sectors who will communicate strategies to ensure gender equality to enable a more diverse and inclusive manufacturing landscape for African nations. The event will shed light on the prospects and challenges encompassing equal participation of men and women in the continent’s manufacturing sector.

Several reports have demonstrated a positive correlation between gross domestic product (GDP) and gender equality, indicating the importance for African governments to increase female labour participation and subsequently expand their talent pools.

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African leaders at the event will explore prioritising the education levels of women on an urgent basis. Special attention will be given to setting up training facilities for women to advance their understanding of important concepts such as standardisation, quality of exports, and producing diversified products to further empower them to produce high-value goods. Attending dignitaries will also delve into methodologies of educating African women about leadership skills and how they can best represent Africa’s products in global markets.

Similarly, African women lag behind in the appropriate use of technology. Special efforts will be unpacked to encourage women to acquire STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. The use of technology will enable African women to work from the comfort of their homes, as mobility remains a challenge in Africa due to conservative traditions.

The symposium will focus on the entrepreneurial skills required by women in the manufacturing realm. Many African women are proficient in creating beautiful carpets, clothes, pottery items and the like. However, they lack access to finance and markets to increase their production output and not only compete with local and international products. Furthermore, discussions on building and strengthening robust and reliable networks of women industrialists will be held, so they can gain access to the latest knowledge relevant to their businesses.

Another important area that requires immediate attention from African government is the prevalence of gender discrimination in industries. While many industries claim to be an equal employment opportunity employer, few take substantial steps to recruit women in their sectors. Policy makers suggest that a 50-50 representation of men and women may assist in promoting women’s participation in the manufacturing sector. In addition, debates around existing and potential laws will be hosted to provide social, economic and financial security to women so that they can play their role in the sector fearlessly, thereby contributing to the overall economic growth of the developing continent.

The Manufacturing Indaba is the platform from where African leaders can gain more insight into taking the appropriate and effective measures to empower its women.

It will cover all the above-mentioned issues in addition to discussing the provision of incentives to manufacturers, the need to promote innovative practices and producing value-added output. In addition, it plans to address the concerns of manufacturers, while hosting thought-provoking sessions on devising strategies to overcome the challenges prevailing in Africa’s manufacturing sector. The Manufacturing Indaba serves as the road map that all manufacturers ought to follow, should they wish to lead in their respective sectors.

Visit www.manufacturingindaba.co.za for more information.