Johannesburg, Mar 29 (PTI) South Africa''s Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has called for local companies to rebuild the country''s manufacturing strength to be able to fully benefit from the opportunities in the BRICS markets.
Addressing small and large industrialists at a hybrid conference here during the weekend, Patel suggested several steps for the local manufacturing sector to exploit opportunities in the BRICS countries.
These included producing detailed export- opportunity studies for each BRICS country; using manufacturing networking to address issues of technology innovation and marketing; and identifying new opportunities where South Africa may not yet have capacity, but for which there are significant markets in BRICS countries.
BRICS is an acronym of five major emerging economies- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
“Over a number of years, manufacturing was seen as a sunset industry, a relic of an age that was passing, and policy-makers were urged to abandon efforts to support the industry and seek opportunity in other sectors of the economy,” the Indian-origin minister said.
Highlighting the crucial role of manufacturing in strong and dynamic economies, Patel said, "manufacturing is a big driver of employment with the strongest employment multiplier.
Patel said research by the Industrial Development Corporation had shown that for every one manufacturing job, another three jobs were created across the economy, in both supplier industries and services sectors.
“It is an earner of foreign exchange and a driver of innovation, of research and development; and in times like the COVID-19 crisis, countries with capacity relied on their industries to produce food, personal protective equipment and medical supplies,” he said.
“In the case of South Africa, the country rapidly opened its trade-exposed sectors to what was described as the bracing effects of global competition, but without supporting local firms to become stronger and more dynamic. The results were painful to see – we lost critical manufacturing capacity,” Patel added.
Over the past two decades, several once-thriving manufacturing sectors such as textiles, footwear and apparel were reduced to almost nothing as cheaper imports from the East, especially China, took hold in South Africa.
This also led to supply chains from small-scale industries being shut down.
“Our localisation project is about working with the business community to rebuild the foundations of manufacturing, to strengthen industrial capacity that can supply both the domestic and export markets,” Patel said. PTI FH RS RS
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI