Advanced manufacturing has the potential to drive industrialisation and create sustainable jobs, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
“Manufacturing is critical to the South African economy and it can be used to create new sustainable growth through the diversification of our economy. This can lead to productive, active and inclusive higher levels of advanced manufacturing and industrialisation,” said Minister Davies.
He was speaking at a two-day Annual Manufacturing Indaba in Kempton Park on Monday.
The aim of the conference is to boost the growth potential of key manufacturing industry sectors, and to provide a platform for informative sessions with the prime movers of the nation’s manufacturing sectors.
According to Minister Davies, one could not separate job creation and industrialisation as they go hand in hand. He said South Africans and the rest of the continent need to move up the value chain and diversify their economies.
“Real opportunities for the market lie in the African market and we need to industrialise as a continent. We have to find ourselves a different niche in a changing African market through strategic cross-border infrastructure upgrading, complementary natural resource development, integrated industrialisation, reductions in inter-state red tape and rapidly expanding intra- and inter-regional trade.”
Minister Davies further explained that extraction and exporting played a small part in the industry turn-over and that if government and the private sector worked closely with and support local manufacturers export and competitiveness can be raised.
The Chairperson of the Manufacturing Circle, Bruce Strong, said the manufacturing industry enables South Africa to create more jobs.
“The industry is important in that it employs 1.6 million people and contributes 12% to the Gross Domestic Product. This has led to many skilled people employed and sustained in the long-term,” he said.
While he agreed that there was market access in Africa, Strong said the manufacturing industry still needed to gear up in order to be competitive.