Johannesburg, 18 March 2020 – An inaugural, one-day BRICS Manufacturing Conference is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on 21 May, Conference organisers said this morning.
Kaizer Nyatsumba, Chairman of the Manufacturing Working Group of the SA Chapter of the BRICS Business Council (BBC), said the conference is born out of the need to help embattled South African manufacturers to make better use of the country’s existing relations with its BRICS counterparts.
The conference – which is expected to be attended by captains of industry, policy makers and public sector representatives, amongst many other stakeholders – , also aims to assist South African manufacturers take better advantage of the opportunities presented by BRICS amidst the economic slump that the economy, in general and domestic manufacturers in particular, currently find themselves in.
“The manufacturing industry’s contribution to the economy has been declining over the past two decades as a result of cheap imports from Asian economies, lacklustre domestic demand, rising operational and input costs and, most recently, frequent power shortages.
“It goes without saying, therefore, that domestic manufacturers should look beyond the South African borders if they are to survive and, grow. It is against this backdrop that we decided to host the conference that will seek to investigate how manufacturers can leverage the BBC manufacturing working group (MWG); and discuss, among others, progress on MWG Projects and how they will advance the course of manufacturing in the country,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
He said that Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel is expected to deliver the Conference’s opening address, while Aspen Pharmacare Group Senior Executive and BBC SA member Stavros Nicolaou,; Manufacturing Circe CEO Phillipa Rodseth,; NAAMSA CEO Michael Mabasa,; IDC CEO and BBC Financial Working Group Chairman TP Nchocho, Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Director-General Ilse Karg and IBM SA Chief Operations Officer Ziaad Suleman, will take part in plenary sessions.
Some of the topics that will be discussed at the conference include “South African Manufacturers and the BRICS Business Council: The Manufacturing Working Group – Does It Matter? Progress Report on Priority MWG Projects”,; “A Focus on Some of the Planned New Special Economic Zones”, and “How South African Business Can Leverage BRICS Membership Better”.
Mr Nyatsumba encouraged manufacturing industry’s stakeholders to attend the conference also in order to make a contribution towards hammering out the necessary solutions that will reverse the fortunes of the industry and ultimately see it out of the doldrums.
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