The inaugural Brics Manufacturing Conference is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on May 21. Brics is the acronym for the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa alignment, the political aspects of which are complemented by the Brics Business Council. And under the Business Council is the Manufacturing Working Group (MWG).
The fundamental aim of the conference is to help South African manufacturers make use of the country’s relations with the other Brics nations. In part, this requires an evaluation of the effectiveness of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council and of its MWG.
“The manufacturing industry’s contribution to the [South African] economy has been declining for the past two decades as a result of cheap imports from Asian economies, lacklustre domestic demand and rising operational and input costs,” pointed out Brics Business Council South African chapter MWG chairman Kaizer Nyatsumba. “It is important, therefore, that domestic manufacturers should look beyond our borders if they are to survive and grow. It is against this backdrop that we decided to host the conference, which aims to assist South African manufacturers to take better advantage of the opportunities presented by Brics, amidst the slump that the economy currently finds itself in.”
Currently scheduled to participate in the conference’s plenary session are Manufacturing Circle CEO Philippa Rodseth and South African MWG deputy chairman Nizam Kalla. The conference will also address other topics, such as ‘Progress Report on Priority MWG Projects’, ‘How South African Business Can Leverage Brics Membership Better’, and ‘A Focus on Some of the Planned New Special Economic Zones’.
Nyatsumba urged those involved in the manufacturing sector to come to the conference, both to hear the speakers and to contribute to the development of approaches that would help reverse the decline of the industry. This year marks the seventh anniversary of the creation of the Brics Business Council.