Tomorrow: Township, rural economies under spotlight at EL summit

18 July 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201810882

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THE transformation of the country’s rural areas and townships into beehives of productive economic activities and manufacturing will come under the spotlight at the national summit in East London this week.

The National Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Rural and Township Economy Summit will take place at the East London International Convention Centre on 19 and 20 July 2018.

More than 1 000 delegates from across the country will exchange ideas, knowledge and expertise on the mechanisms, interventions, models and best practices that will take entrepreneurial activities in the townships and rural areas to a higher level.

The theme of the summit is Transforming Townships and Rural Areas from being Consumer Communities into Entrepreneurial Societies. It has been organised by the Department of Trade and Industries (the DTI) in partnership with the Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council and the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

According to the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, the transformation of the economy of this country will not be complete if people living in the townships and rural areas do not become producers of products that they consume, and the goods they use in their daily lives.

“The unfortunate pattern of goods and services produced elsewhere flowing to the rural areas and townships, and the millions of rands leaving the townships and rural areas to pay for these goods and services, will have to change,” said Davies

“This can only be achieved if communities and entrepreneurs operating in these areas are economically empowered and assisted to upscale their economic activities and create industries that will manufacture products for local consumption. This will lead to the stimulation of the rural and township economies which will contribute in the country’s economic growth, creation of employment and eradication of poverty.”

The national summit was preceded by a series of provincial breakfast dialogues and seminars on the revitalisation of the township and rural industrial economy that the DTI hosted throughout the country in partnership with the provincial departments of economic development.

“Our provincial roadshow proved to be a crucial element of the build-up to the national summit in that entrepreneurs in various parts of the country got an opportunity to talk to us in an open dialogue and influence the agenda for the national summit

“Communities and entrepreneurs, as well as big business, made their views known to us about their challenges and what they think government and the private sector can do to stimulate the rural and township economies. Delegates at the national summit will brainstorm these ideas and proposals with the aim of coming up with implementable and sustainable solutions and interventions,” Davies said.

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