South Africa’s trade with other BRICS nations has also been on an upward trajectory, with Pretoria cementing its position as Russia’s leading trade partner in Africa while Brazil now tops the list as the forerunner among South Africa’s trade partners in Latin America. India’s imports of gold and coal, meanwhile, have contributed significantly to South Africa’s balance sheet.

The accolades, however, have not come without criticism. From a South African perspective, trade with BRICS nations has for the most part favoured Brazil, Russia, India and particularly China. In March this year, for instance, imports from China were almost double South Africa’s exports to that country.

Speaking ahead of the 2nd Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place on 26-27 May at the Industrial Development Corporation’s Conference Centre, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba pointed to another domino that has been affected by South Africa’s BRICS trade – its trade relations with the West.

However, is South Africa’s blossoming romance with the BRICS nations happening at the expense of the country’s economic and political relations with the West – or, does it have the potential to do so? That is one of the questions that will be discussed at the second Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba taking place at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton on 26-27 May 2016.

Grappling with the topic will be University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Associate Professor Mills Soko, European Union Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Chairman Mr Stefan Sakoschek, US Embassy Economics Minister Mr Laird Trieber and New Bond Capital Non-Executive Director Mr Kuseni Dlamini.

Other topics to be discussed at the Indaba include:

  • Government Policy Interventions for a Sustainable, Globally Competitive Steel Sector;
  • Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How to Finance it?
  • Parnters, Not Adversaries: How to Forge a Stronger Partnership Between Business and Labour to Improve Southern Africa’s Competitiveness;
  • A Delicate Balancing Act: The Link Between the Metals and Engineering Sector and the Mining, Construction and Car Manufacturing Industries;
  • The Continental Free Trade Area and its Implications for Manufacturing in Southern Africa; and
  • Parasitic or Symbiotic? Relations Between Small Business and Big Business in the Metals and Engineering Sector

The 2016 Indaba will attract policy and decision makers, business owners, senior executives and other stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector in the Southern African Development Community region.