Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will, on the first day of the 2018 Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, meet with Business Unity South Africa CEO Tanya Cohen, Federation of Unions of South Africa General Secretary Dennis George and Centre for Development and Enterprise Executive Director Ann Bernstein to assess what Government, Business and Labour need to do together to improve South Africa’s sovereign credit rating.
Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern African CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said the need for this plenary session to form part of the 2018 Indaba comes on the back of South Africa having suffered credit downgrade blows from global ratings agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, which last year lowered the country’s foreign and local currency ratings by one notch as a result of the further deterioration of the country’s economic outlook and its public finances.
“If nothing is done to improve South Africa’s sovereign credit downgrade, we can expect foreign investors to find favourable markets elsewhere. This will result in the further weakening of South Africa’s economy and subsequently negatively impact employment creation and social cohesion.
“There can be no new employment created without economic growth and there can be no social cohesion amidst a widening gap between the rich and the poor. It is, therefore, vitally important that we collaborate to find ways to improve our credit ratings,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
He believes that improving the country’s credit rating is possible, given the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration so far appears to have embarked on a commendable campaign to fight corruption, which bodes well for business confidence.
Other topics that will feature prominently during the 2018 Indaba include:
- The Continental Free Trade Area: How Much Progress Has Been Made to Date?
- How much of the National Development Plan has been implemented – and is it still relevant?
- Exploring and Leveraging the Link Between the Metals and Engineering Sector and the Mining, Construction and Auto Manufacturing Industries
- Constraints to investing in the Metals and Engineering Sector and improving trade on the African continent
- Radical Economic Transformation, the Black Industrialists Programme and the Metals and Engineering Sector
- Innovation and Excellence as Strategic Levers for Global Competitiveness
- Administered Prices As Factors Negatively Affecting South Africa’s International Competitiveness: Can we Change the Situation?
President Cyril Ramaphosa is billed to deliver the opening address. Among the high-profile speakers expected to address the conference are:
- Cabinet Ministers Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and Pravin Gordhan
- Business leaders like Black Business Council CEO Kganki Matabane, ArcelorMittal General Manager: Africa Overland Alph Ngapo, Africa House Director Duncan Bonnett, Africa@Work CEO Dinna Games, Hazleton Pump International Managing Director Mathys Wehmer, former Atlantis Foundries CEO Pieter du Plessis, Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama, PWC South Africa Director Andrew Shaw, National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA Director Nico Vermeulen and Master Builders Executive Director Roy Mnisi;
- Policy makers and civil service representatives like Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) Director-General Lionel October, and Dti Chief Director for Africa Multilateral Economic Relations Wamkele Mene;
- Representatives of global organisations like World Bank Group Lead Economist John Gabriel and International Finance Corporation Senior Investment Officer Paul Mukasa;
- Civil society leaders like Council for Scientific and Industrial Research CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini; Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse Executive Director Wayne Duvenage and Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo
- Politicians like ANC Economic Transformation Head Enoch Godongwana, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry Geordin Hill-Lewis and DA Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone; and
- Academics like University of Stellenbosch Social Justice Chair and former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela and University of the Free State Visiting Professor JP Landman.
The 2018 Indaba will take place on 20-21 September at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton.