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JOHANNESBURG, 14 MARCH 2021 – The BRICS Manufacturing Conference will showcase the priority projects identified by sub-clusters of the BRICS Manufacturing Working Group (MWG), following its establishment.

The MWG, which is the organiser of the inaugural conference, is a working group of the BRICS Business Council, which was set up in 2013. Its aim is to advance the interest of the South African manufacturing sector within the bigger mandate of enhancing trade and investment among the five BRICS countries – South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

One of the ways in which the MWG seeks to fulfil its mandate is by identifying projects that offer opportunities for the BRICS countries to co-operate. Among these priority projects is MedTech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or Medical Cluster Project, headed by Ilse Karg, who is the Chief Director of Future Industrial Production Technologies at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. She will present a progress report of the project at the conference.

Ms Karg said that according to a study by Business Monitors International (BMI Research), the medical device market in South Africa is expected to grow from $1.3-billion to around $1.7-billion US by 2021, signalling a potentially vibrant market that needs to be supported.

“The aim of the Medical Cluster Project is two-fold: firstly, to embrace and support health innovations, commercialisation and scale of products offered by the South African health sector and, secondly, to build local manufacturing capacity and increase exports,” she said.

Ms Karg said the project, which is being implemented with co-operation from the BRICS countries, will contribute towards South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan.

MWG Chairman Kaizer Nyatsumba said projects such as these offer South Africa an avenue to deepen economic ties with its BRICS counterparts, while at the same time supporting job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities.

“The projects form a part of the agenda at the conference since they demonstrate the possibilities that exist for local manufacturers not only to grow their footprint, but also to innovate and discover new ways of doing things,” he said.

Other key projects that will be discussed at the inaugural BRICS Manufacturing Conference include the Clariter Project and Exponential Manufacturing and how it supports the Nkomazi SEZ

Clariter, a global clean-tech company, transforms plastic waste into much higher-value, pure industrial products such as oils, waxes and solvents. These are then used as drop-in ingredients in more than 1,000 different end products such as paints and coatings, leather and wood care products and even in cosmetics, replacing crude oil- derived alternatives. Clariter ends the life of plastic and reduces the demand for fossil fuels, thereby driving a sustainable economy and a clean industry.  Benefits of this project include a partnership for industrialisation as South Africa and the BRICS countries can sign licensing agreements for use of Clariter’s technology.

The BRICS Conference, which will take place at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton on 26 March, aims to help local manufacturers to take advantage of South Africa’s membership of BRICS through trade.

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