The annual Indaba is aimed at sparking the revival of the metals and engineering sector in particular and the manufacturing sector in general. It will offer business executives, captains of industry, policy makers, Government Ministers and labour leaders a vital opportunity to discuss matters of common interest constructively in order to improve the performance of the struggling sector and grow South Africa’s slumbering economy.
Minister Gordhan has been paramount in addressing challenges currently facing the South African economy, including avoiding a downgrade of the economy by international ratings agency Moody’s last week.
Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba expressed gratitude and appreciation to Minister Gordhan. He said the Minister’s support signaled concretely the value that the Government placed on manufacturing in general and the metals and engineering sector in particular.
“Minister Gordhan and his colleagues have stabilised the South African economy. He is working tirelessly with the business community to improve the economy, and has successfully managed to keep us out of a junk-status rating,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe will deliver the Opening Address on the first day of the conference and Minister Gordhan will deliver the Closing Address on Friday, 27 May.
Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Director-General Mr Garth Strachan will be the main speaker in a plenary session focusing on Government policy interventions for a sustainable, globally-competitive steel sector.
Mr Nyatsumba said that in the past decade, the South African economy has been seriously under-performing, with things getting worse in the past few years. If nothing is done to arrest the situation speedily, things can only get worse.
“Therefore, it goes without saying that something has to be done as a matter of extreme urgency not only to halt but also to reverse this disturbing trend, which has seen manufacturing in South Africa coming under tremendous pressure from cheap, mostly Asian imports,” said Mr Nyatsumba.
Among the speakers this year are top South African business leaders, Government leaders, representatives of international business and financial institutions – as well as authorities from the European Union and the United States of America, including:
- International Monetary Fund Senior Resident Representative Dr Axel Schimmelpfennig;
- Executive Chairman of the EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southern Africa Mr Stefan Sakoschek;
- Massmart Chairman Mr Kuseni Dlamini;
- US Embassy Economics Minister Mr Laird Trieber, and
- National Empowerment Fund Chief Executive Officer Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa.
The 2016 Indaba will focus on the following topics, among others:
- Partners, Not Adversaries: How to Forge A Stronger Partnership Between Business and Labour to Improve Southern Africa’s International Competitiveness
- A Delicate Balancing Act: The Link Between the Metals and Engineering Sector and the Mining, Construction and Car Manufacturing Industries
- Parasitic or Symbiotic: Relations Between Small Business and Big Business in the Metals and Engineering Sector
- Southern Africa and the Huge Infrastructure Backlog – How to finance it.