Nwabisa Makunga, the deputy Editor of both the Herald and the Weekend Post will be opening the Conference, followed by the Welcome Address of the Executive Mayor, Councillor Athol Trollip, the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
MEC Sakhumzi Somyo for Economic Development & Tourism will also be addressing delegates in the morning, and will undoubtedly have an opportunity to expound on the export-oriented Eastern Cape’s increasingly more modernised economy. The Eastern Cape boasts a seamless geographic location, quality sea and air ports and an abundance of natural resources situated within a world class infrastructure framework.
The Eastern Cape is likewise reflective of the vast potential for growth within existing industries, and is poised expectantly towards the formation of new industries. Manufacturing Indaba Eastern Cape intends to bring together provincial manufacturers and businesses to explore growth opportunities, ascertain information regarding the latest manufacturing incentives and trends, and provide a platform for networking and collaboration.
This will be followed by an address focused on Manufacturing with Thomas Schaefer from Volkswagen South Africa. General manufacturing makes up a significant portion of the provincial economy and is primarily driven by the needs of the automotive sector, which is the biggest manufacturing sector in the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape is home to four of the seven OEMs operating in South Africa and up to 100 major component manufacturers. Eastern Cape based international vehicle assemblers include Mercedes Benz in East London, General Motors and Volkswagen in Nelson Mandela Bay and Ford Motors. The Eastern Cape manufactures half of the country’s passenger vehicles and provides 51% of South Africa’s vehicle exports.
Panel Discussion 1 of MIEC 2017 will elucidate on The Best of Eastern Cape Manufacturing.
This panel session will feature industry best practice exemplars, providing delegates with the opportunity to hear from, and question industry leaders on how they are achieving success and the factors that are driving this, despite the challenging economic circumstances facing companies.
General manufacturing in the Eastern Cape is based mainly in the urban areas of East London and Port Elizabeth. The location of general manufacturing in these areas is directly related to the fact that the urban areas of the Eastern Cape offer investors access to prime manufacturing locations, ready access to skilled and trained employees, and ease of logistics for both domestic and foreign markets.
The afternoon session, Panel Discussion 2 will expand on Industrialist programmes – Building an industrial financing, investment and incentives Ecosystem.
Government has many levers that it can use to support industry. One of the measures used across the world is industrial finance – which is a combination of government incentives and availability of finance for industrial firms. South Africa has a robust system of incentives for key manufacturing sectors. In addition, there are financial institutions that are available to finance firms.
In an article entitled, Africa’s manufacturing sector needs renaissance (itwebafrica, 29 September, 2017), the World Bank stated that new technology, which included advanced robotics, industrial automation, and 3D printing, is transforming the landscape of global manufacturing. While emphasising that there are prevailing challenges, there remain opportunities for developing countries as long as the various governments take appropriate policy actions regarding competitiveness, capabilities, and connectedness.
The WB also stated (itwebafrica, 29 September, 2017) that new technologies and processes will alter established manufacturing processes. Therefore, in order to make the most of each economy’s potential, Gaurav Nayyar, an economist in the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, stated that it behoves policymakers and private-sector decision-makers to seize new opportunities by re-thinking their manufacturing-led development strategies.