Answering that question and sharing their insights will be speakers and panelists Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Officer Mr Paul O’Flaherty, Deputy Chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs and Political Commentator Mr Moeletsi Mbeki, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Geordin Hill-Lewis, as well as Business Leadership South Africa Chairman and former Anglo Gold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer Mr Bobby Godsell.
The high-calibre panel, made up of revered players in the South African economy, will dissect the topic and debate everything related to manufacturing in Southern Africa. Panelists will also field questions from the floor.
According to the South African Reserve Bank, the manufacturing sector is 29% larger today than 10 years ago, 66% larger than 20 years ago and 71% larger than 30 years ago. However, its share of the economy declined first from 20% in 1983 to 19% in 1993, and then further still to 18% in 2003 and eventually to 16 % in 2013. So, manufacturing has declined by a percentage point each decade in South Africa!
Manufacturing exports represent an estimated 35% of production, while imports have captured nearly 45% of the domestic market. On the other hand, the metals and engineering sector exports 60% of its products and competes with imports for 60% of the domestic market.
To be attended by policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Metals and Engineering Indaba will focus on the following topics, among others:
- Does Manufacturing Have a Future in Southern Africa?
- Striking a Healthy Balance Between International Competition and Dumping
- Transformation in the Metals and Engineering Sector
- International Competitiveness and Intra-African Trade
- South Africa and the National Development Plan
- Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How To Finance It?
Among the challenges faced by the regional manufacturing sector are a flood of cheap imports, unfair competition from highly-subsidized countries such as China, rising production and labour costs as well as stagnant economic growth.
Organised and hosted by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba is aimed at encouraging growth in the sector, which has under-performed over the past five years.
SEIFSA Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said the Indaba will afford both speakers and delegates an opportunity not only to participate and engage robustly with one another in a conference which will change the face of the sector in the region, but also to network and exchange ideas with industry peers and policy makers.
Mr Nyatsumba said that it was hoped that over the next few years the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba will reach the same heights as the annual Mining Indaba.
Among the key focus areas of the inaugural conference will be an update on and concrete plans related to the Government’s ambitious National Development Plan.
The conference will bring together business owners, trade unionists and policymakers from across the Southern African Development Community to deliberate on turn-around strategies.
For more information, potential delegates, sponsors and exhibitors should visit www.meindaba.co.za.