“Exporting creates many opportunities for the economy and offers the advantages of a larger market with greater economies of scale, it provides an opportunity to grow and sustain business operations and it enables a region to attract investments and new business, thereby creating employment opportunities.” This is according to Trade Invest KwaZulu-Natal’s Executive Manager for Export Development and Promotion, Mr Lester Bouah. Bouah continues saying a strong international trade sector is critical to jobs growth and to a strong and competitive KZN economy. “It is essential, especially during difficult economic conditions, to encourage new entrants and to help existing exporters grow their businesses and develop new markets”. Emerging exporters, existing exporters and seasoned exporters will all gather at the Durban International Convention Centre from 17 – 21 October 2016 to learn, network and discuss export and trade opportunities. Co-located with African Ports Evolution, Export Week KZN will recognise, promote and assist with growing export opportunities in the province, giving export ready businesses a platform to enhance their international business development strategies and to help meet the critical educational and mentoring needs of KZN SMEs engaged in international trade. Being the second largest provincial contributor to South Africa’s GDP after Gauteng and boasting the highest export propensity and the highest level of industrialisation in the country, the economic structure in KZN is based on a large manufacturing sector in which growth is driven by various industries. KZN’s emergence as a hub of industrial development in sub saharan Africa may be attributed to its unmatched natural resource endowments, exceptional productive capacity, well-developed first-world infrastructure and advantageous coastal location. According to the event organiser, Ms Athi Myoli, the 2016 programme will give exporters direct access to businesses that are looking for trade partners and associations who can help them to reach new markets. Myoli says the event will host some of the top business minds who will share their tips and stories on how to build a global business. Event dates and location: Co-located with African Ports Evolution Date: 17-21 October 2016 Location: Durban International Convention Centre Event website: www.exportweek.co.za
By Ernest Mahlaule, President of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry In recent weeks, following the local elections, we have been reminded of the importance of democracy – and our commitment to this as a country, has encouraged all stakeholders; citizens, business, investors and politicians alike – all while the world continues to keep a watchful eye on us. However, the ongoing dispute between the Ministry of Finance and South African Revenue Service (SARS) places this new found confidence at risk. In conversations with our constituents and stakeholders, we have become aware of how reports of the ongoing dispute between the office of the Minister of Finance and SARS, is impacting confidence in South Africa, from local and international businesses. The situation continues to create instability in the Rand and local markets, which comes at a very delicate time for the local economy.” Something needs to give. If this situation continues for much longer, the greater risk is the lasting reputational damage to the country in the eyes of our current and future investors, and this is something the country simply cannot afford.” South Africa is still at risk of being downgraded to ‘junk’ status, where research from local economists has already demonstrated that, should this happen, it will take the country’s economy at least seven years to recover. The startling reality, however, is that if South Africa is downgraded to junk status – and our political will is still at odds – this could spell the beginning of more, and compounding, challenges for the country.” We hope the situation is resolved quickly and that an appropriate and lasting resolution can be found to put this debacle to rest, once and for all. Now is a time to come together and collaborate in line with the emerging consensus whereby all stakeholders comprising business, organised labour, government as well as civil society have resolved to continue working together towards reigniting the economy and create the much needed jobs for our citizens. We should further be mindful of the fact that when political will is exerted, it should never be to the detriment of the country’s common interests. The people of this country want strong leaders with a proven understanding and sense of accountability for the power of the positions they hold.