“Recent events in Ukraine continue to disrupt global trade, underscoring the need to develop more robust local supply chains – which begins with boosting demand for local products to stimulate local businesses,” says Proudly South African Chief Executive Officer Eustace Mashimbye.
“Lack of local demand still remains one of the most significant obstacles limiting South Africa’s economic growth potential, preventing businesses from expanding.”
For example, South Africa’s manufacturing sector, a crucial labour-absorber which accounts for some 13% of the country’s GDP, remains significantly under utilised – an issue which has only grown over the past decade, exacerbating rising unemployment. Notably, Statistics South Africa figures reveal that manufacturing product utilisation fell from 80.6% in 2011 to 77.6%, largely owing to a lack of demand.
“South Africa has production capacity, capability and potential. All we need to do now is to place the power of our rands behind local goods and services to plug the gap in utilisation, encouraging businesses to grow their operations to create more jobs,” explains Mashimbye. “This in turn will create more sources of income, and further stimulate local spending and demand in a virtuous circle that benefits all South Africans and all South African businesses.”
Against this background, the theme of Proudly South African’s upcoming flagship event, the 2022 Buy Local Summit and Expo, is “Localisation as a driver of economic reconstruction and recovery”. It will be hosted online between 14 and 16 March, and will feature sessions attended by political and business leaders including Gauteng MEC Parks Tau who will be launching the province’s local content framework, and the BEE Commissioner, Zodwa Ntuli. One of the sessions titled “Localisation: an economic imperative for job creation in South Africa” will unpack the pros and cons of localisation as a trade policy.
One of the Summit’s objectives will be to speak to the public sector regarding their roles and responsibilities in terms of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA). It will further encourage corporate South Africa to increase their uptake of those locally sourced and manufactured goods and services required by their day-to-day operations, and educate consumers on labels of origin and their role in contributing to job creation by making local choices.
The event will also create access to market opportunities for Proudly SA members, as well as enterprise and supplier development (ESD) beneficiaries of sponsors and large member companies.
Focus on automotive and furniture sectors, and support for small businesses
Mashimbye notes that in addition to sessions exploring government’s economic strategy and the benefits of localisation, Proudly South African will host special activation sessions exploring South Africa’s automotive and furniture industries.
“These have been identified by government as a few of the key pockets of the economy with significant potential as job creators. Furniture, for example, is the third largest labour-intensive industry within the manufacturing sector,” he says.
“The local furniture industry also serves as an excellent example of the economic multipliers throughout value chains that can be achieved through supporting local businesses, whether you are furnishing a home, a business. or even a hotel. Consider, for instance, that furniture production involves a range of related industries, drawing on components such as steel, adhesives and paints, wood, leather and textiles.
“Through these activations, we hope to dispel the perception that South African-manufactured goods are of substandard quality, and showcase the wide range of Proudly South African-verified products and goods on offer for both corporates and consumers.”
Finally, the Summit will aim to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with access to financial and non-financial support from industry experts and the relevant organisations and entities through the Business Solutions Hub.
“The Business Solution Hub was introduced five years ago and is now one of the Summit’s most popular features, offering access to a wide range of experts to assist with issues ranging from tax matters to registering intellectual property. Through offering this facility, Proudly South African aims to ensure that we also rally behind local businesses through providing tools and networking opportunities for them to grow.”
The Buy Local Summit and Expo is free to attend and will be streamed on YouTube. Visitors can register online for the event at www.buylocalsummit.co.za.