The Southern African metals and engineering sector has been faced with numerous challenges over many years. A flood of cheap imports, unfair competition from highly-subsidized countries such as China, dumping as well as stagnant economic growth are among the main challenges facing the sector.

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.

“For companies operating in the metals and engineering sector to survive in such turbulent economic times, it is vitally important that robust discussions are held and strategies aimed at ensuring the survival of the sector devised. The upcoming Indaba will provide a platform for all stakeholders in this important sector not only to engage robustly on matters impacting the sector, but also to come up with sustainable growth solutions that would see the sector rise out of the doldrums,” Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said.

Exploring opportunities and sharing their insights on this important topic will be the following speakers:

  • University of South Africa’s School of Law Professor Omphemetse Sibanda;
  • Investec Bank Chief Economist Annabel Bishop;
  • Frontier Advisory Chief Executive Officer Martyn Davies;
  • CBC Fasteners Chief Executive Officer Rob Pietersma;
  • and SEIFSA Chief Economist Henk Langenhoven.

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) region, 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?

Organised and hosted by SEIFSA, the Indaba is aimed at encouraging growth in the sector, which has under-performed over the past five years.

The conference, which will take place at Emperor’s Palace in Ekurhuleni, will bring together business owners, trade unionists and policymakers from across the SADC to deliberate on turn-around strategies.