The establishment of the BRICS Manufacturing Working Group (MWG) subsequently gave birth to numerous priority projects identified across a number of the sub-clusters of the manufacturing sector.
Included in the MWG’s priority projects are, among others, Electromobility Solutions; Smart Cities, Light Passenger Aircraft Manufacturing as well Exponential Manufacturing, Bio-Plastic Technologies and Project Thuthukisa.
But what do these projects seek to do? What is their current state and what progress has been made in achieving their mandates? Detailed progress reports on each of the Priority MWG Projects will form part of the plenary sessions at the inaugural BRICS Manufacturing Conference scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on 21 May.
Delivering the projects progress will be NAAMSA CEO Michael Mabasa, who heads the Electromobility Solutions Project; IBM SA COO Ziaad Suleman, who is responsible for the Smart Cities Project; Denel Auronautics Senior Marketer Lesetja Mogoba, who heads the Light Passenger Aircraft Manufacturing Project; Pelchem MD Ivan Radebe, who is responsible for Project Thuthukisa; and the Exponential Manufacturing Project’s Head Johann van Tonder, among others.
According to the Chairman of the Manufacturing Working Group of the SA Chapter of the BRICS Business Council (BBC) Kaizer Nyatsumba, the Conference was born out of the need to help embattled South African manufacturing companies make better use of the country’s existing relations with its fellow BRICS counterparts. He said the Conference is expected to be attended by captains of industry, policy makers and public sector representatives, amongst many other stakeholders.
“The manufacturing industry’s contribution to the 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.
“It is important, therefore, that domestic manufacturers should not only look beyond our borders if they are to survive and grow, but also be pathfinders of new sub- sectors, new innovations and new technologies. 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,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
Other topics that will be discussed at the inaugural conference include “South African Manufacturers and the BRICS Business Council: The Manufacturing Working Group – Does it Matter?”, “A Focus on Some of the Planned New Special Economic Zones” and “How South African Business Can Leverage BRICS Membership Better”.
Mr Nyatsumba encouraged manufacturing industry stakeholders to attend the conference not only to be addressed by the speakers of the day, but also to make a contribution towards hammering out the necessary solutions that should contribute towards reversing the sector’s fortunes.