Over 200 high-level representatives of government, business, labour, civil society and academia will gather in Midrand on 5 November for the inaugural Competitiveness Forum hosted by Brand South Africa.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Ministers in the Presidency Collins Chabane and Trevor Manuel will address the forum, which will bring together a cross-section of stakeholders to deliberate on what competitiveness is and why South Africa needs to be competitive.
A critical part of the discussion, Brand South Africa said on Wednesday, would be how the nation's competitiveness can contribute to the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).
A policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030, the NDP - also referred to as Vision 2030 - identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a roadmap to a more inclusive economy that will address the country's socio-economic imbalances.
"The discussion around competitiveness is one that many developing countries have had, and international best practice has shown that national growth and development can only be achieved when all citizens participate in driving this agenda," Brand South Africa said in a statement. "South Africa needs all our people to be committed to Vision 2030."
South Africa dropped one place in the World Economic Forum's (WEF's) latest Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 53rd out of 148 countries surveyed while placing second in Africa, second among the BRICS economies, and third overall for financial market development.
Petrus de Kock, the research manager at Brand South Africa, said earlier this month that the South African Competitiveness Forum would be "very much a consultative forum - this is a key platform for us to share knowledge and experience, but also to work together to build a stronger reputation and a competitive country to position internationally".
The programme is jam-packed, with a plenary session to be opened by Motlanthe, followed by five breakaway sessions. Taking a workshop-style format, these sessions will highlight the country's reputational and competitive strengths and weaknesses. "We are looking at how we can fix problems and ways we can make the national brand even stronger," De Kock said.
Other speakers at the forum will include Brand South Africa chairperson Chichi Maponya, Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola, and senior representatives from the business sector.
- SAinfo reporter and Brand South Africa