South Africa: DTI to Announce Successor Programme to Black Industrialists

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) will over the course of the year announce a successor programme of the Black Industrialists Programme, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Speaking at the fifth South African Premier Business Awards (SAPBA) on Tuesday night, hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Minister Davies said the programme was developed as an intervention to nurture, support and take black industrialists to the next level.

"We launched the programme that includes an incentive provided by the dti," he said at the glittering event.

Cabinet approved the Black Industrialists Policy which aligns with the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the National Development Plan and the Nine Point Plan in November 2015.

Giving an update of the programme that was launched in March 2016, Minister Davies said the programme has to date supported 78 black industrialists.

"We have accelerated the initial target instead of reaching 100 [black industrialists] by the end of March 2019 we decided to accelerate it to reach our target by March of this year. At this point we have supported 78 black industrialists. We will during the course of the year announce what the successor programme and target will look like," said Minister Davies, adding that the country can be proud of the current 78 industrialists.

The annual awards, which honour business excellence, also have included a black industrialist's award among its ten categories.

Earlier this month, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) invited black industrialists to apply to participate in a trade mission to Mozambique. The trade mission will take place from 5 - 9 March as part of the implementation of the programme.

The programme is anchored on three fundamental pillars, namely access to capital, access to markets and non-financial support.

Better prospects for the economy

Turning his attention to the South African economy, Minister Davies said he is optimistic that the new year will bring good fortune.

"Last year it is no secret was an extremely difficult and challenging year for the South African economy. There are reasons to be optimistic that this year 2018 will be a year that will allow us to perform better than we did last year," said the Minister.

This as the world economy is predicted to achieve its highest level of growth according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at 3.6%. This is higher than at any time since the onset of the recession in 2007/2008.

"I think we must not over-rate the impact of this because as the IMF says, this is a cyclical bounce. The circumstances in the world economy look a little bit better. Secondly we have a much more positive mood among both the domestic and foreign business towards this country. That mood I think is built on the reality of a smooth and predictable transition in the ruling party's congress at the end of 2017," said Minister Davies.

In addition, South Africa is also starting to get on top of some of the challenges it faces, including issues of governance at state owned companies.

SA focused on turning a corner

However, while the country is focused on turning a corner, the local economy is still facing structural challenges.

"While we have reason to be hopeful that this year will be better than last and that these factors will be positive for our economy they don't mean automatically that our substantial challenges of bringing about structural transformation in our economy will be solved.

"Rather what they do is that they create better circumstances for us to continue to confront the challenges that we've got of getting our economy onto a new qualitative different and higher growth path which is both more value added in its nature and much more industrialised."

The issue of inclusivity in the economy is one that needs to still be addressed. This is so that jobs are created and opportunities for people who have been excluded from the positions of ownership, leadership and management of the economy are brought on board.

"Transformation remains fundamental. Over the year we will be seeking to accelerate our efforts under better conditions to industrial and re-industrialise our economy, to move further up the value chain."

Dti to ensure localisation takes place

In addition, the department will be involved in seeking to ensure that localisation takes place. Government has seen cases where localisation in procurement has not been enforced.

"We have seen far too many cases where we have seen slippages from the government procurement programme where local products are supposed to be procured.

"We will now be tightening up consequence management on that but also we will be seeking to try to work with Proudly South African in order to push much more effectively the Buy Back South Africa programme. This is so that we can create jobs in our country and move our enterprises to create economic opportunities," said Minister Davies.

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