Manufacturing Indaba aims to develop EC industrialists

21 August 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201915949

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THE recurring success of both Manufacturing Indabas hosted in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal have set high expectations for the upcoming conference to be held in the Eastern Cape on 3 and 4 October 2019.

That’s according to Indaba Managing Director Liz Hart, who said the event would assemble stakeholders of the nation’s manufacturing arena to network with industry specialists and showcase their products and services in an endeavour to further develop the region’s manufacturing industry.

The agenda has also been announced and includes interactive sessions covering a range of topics, conveyed through panel discussions. The dialogues will be led by industry experts, investors, policy makers and government representatives.

“These engaging and collaborative discussions are set to reveal significant insights that will conclusively set forth a more progressive and globally competitive manufacturing realm, not only across the Eastern Cape province but South Africa in its entirety,” said Hart.

She said the Eastern Cape had proven its potential to unleash its industrial proficiency, by leveraging off its three active ports in Port Elizabeth, East London and Ngqura as drivers of economic development.

“This trio of ports represent a powerhouse of maritime resources and potential for the nation. Each of the ports has a predetermined function to serve the region and connect South Africa to the global economy. Serving unique purposes, all three ports are fundamental to the country’s trade strategy, with the objective of attracting and retaining both local and foreign investment.”

General manufacturing contributes a significant portion to the provincial economy and is predominantly driven by the needs of the automotive sector, which represents the biggest manufacturing sector in the Eastern Cape. The province boasts four of the seven OEMs operating in South Africa and up to 100 major component manufacturers.

Hart pointed out that South Africa’s automotive sector is the cornerstone of the national manufacturing base and accounts for 6.8% of GDP. “With that said, the Eastern Cape is home to the manufacturing facilities of international vehicle assemblers Volkswagen South Africa in Uitenhage and Mercedes-Benz South Africa in East London, as well as Isuzu and Ford Motors. The province manufactures half of the country’s passenger vehicles and provides 51% of South Africa’s vehicle exports.”

Following its two consecutive years of decline, motor vehicle production rebounded in 2018, observing a 3,5% growth rate. “This undoubtedly fared well for automotive manufacturers based primarily in the Eastern Cape. These statistics attest to the region’s momentous impact on South Africa’s manufacturing sector, consequently emphasising the implication of investing in and developing manufacturers of the invaluable Eastern Cape province.”

Hart said industry leaders at the indaba would share their knowledge on how to proactively manage Industry 4.0 and IoT in seeking to stay ahead of the curve.

“In light of this disruptive technological revolution, the event plans to respond to increasing concerns of industry players relating to their job-security and career paths in the event of embracing progressive manufacturing methodolgies. Manufacturing experts will discuss how adopting innovation can positively impact job creation through establishing new career alternatives and economic diversification opportunities.”

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