Pretoria, South Africa – 15 December 2019 – The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), a joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) held its international roadshow, GMIS Connect Southern Africa, in Pretoria, South Africa on 10 -11 December to explore the untapped potential of Southern Africa to participate in Global Value Chains (GVC) and to shape the future of manufacturing. The roadshow highlighted the potential impact of Digital Transformation on Southern Africa’s value chains while disseminating knowledge and best practices for advancing manufacturing with the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in order to accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Strategically held in the world’s leading manufacturing hubs and emerging markets, GMIS Connect is the Summit’s international roadshow programme that engages local and regional partners on trends, opportunities and challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. GMIS Connect Southern Africa was organised in partnership with UNIDO, and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the National Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa (NCPC) and supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit Gmbh (GIZ), under the theme – Think Globally, Act Locally – The Impact of Digital Industrial Transformation in Southern Africa. The two-day roadshow was attended by representatives of the South African industrial and manufacturing companies including SMEs and start-ups, business associations, and representatives of African Governments, academia, UN organisations and other civil society entities who took part in a series of interactive sessions focused on bolstering regional trade integration through development of regional value chains and the manufacturing sector in Africa.
According to the African Development Bank Group’s Southern Africa Economic Outlook 2019, South African countries have taken significant strides towards deeper regional integration. The report states that one way to promote an integrated industrial base is to develop and strengthen regional value chains—to accelerate value addition and enhance export competitiveness. The relatively low participation of Southern African countries in value chains indicates the untapped potential for boosting private sector investment and industrial growth. A recent study reviewing industrialisation policies of countries in the region identified several areas with immense investment opportunities including fruit, coal, gold, diamonds, copper, cotton, crude oil, iron ore, platinum, marine products, and natural gas.
GMIS Connect Southern Africa addressed some of the most pressing challenges for South African countries’ participation in global production and trade, relating to the impact of new technologies in priority value chain clusters. A series of high-level panel discussions explored how the adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies could help local and regional firms integrate into global value chains.
In attendance at the roadshow and participating at the various panel discussions was H.E. Vincent Meriton, Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Soomilduth Bholah, Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives of Mauritius, H.E. Sekai Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Zimbabwe, H.E. Halebonoe Sets`abi, Minister of Trade and Industry of Lesotho, and Rivo Rakotondrasanjy, President, Alliance for Industrialization of Madagascar. Fabian Kyrieleis, Counsellor Development Cooperation, Federal Republic of Germany Embassy in Botswana, Ndivhuho Raphulu, Director, National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA), Helen Hai, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for Industrialization in Africa and CEO of Made in Africa Initiative, and Nardos Bekele-Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in South Africa delivered keynote addresses at the opening ceremony.
Speaking at the roadshow, Elsie Meintjies, Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO, said: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) offers opportunities for public and private sector to connect and strengthen the participation in regional and global priority value chains. Through these events which are held in partnership with GMIS and other stakeholders, UNIDO is proud to be able to introduce tools that will assist countries and priority industrial sectors in the adoption of innovative enabling technologies forming the platform for evidence-based policymaking and the implementation of inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategies.”
GMIS Connect Southern Africa also identified opportunities for the development of national and regional projects that could foster industrial transformation. Additionally, the roadshow investigated what the public sector can do to facilitate the transition into the digital economy and what policy tools are needed to support regional economic integration.
Johansein Rutaihwa, Senior Programme Officer Industrialisation and Competitiveness, SADC, said: “The region through the Industrialisation Strategy 2015 – 2063, sets a target of increasing employment by 40% in 2040, thus as we are embarking on the 4IR journey, the region has to position itself to understand that not only more education is required but rather a different education in order to address mass unemployment.”
Discussions also centred on the need for higher private sector involvement to build efficient value chains, stemming from the recent announcement of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, a ground-breaking outcome from the 18th Session of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) General Conference held in November 2019. Named after the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Abu Dhabi Declaration could prove a major boost to developing regions such as Southern Africa, as it calls for a global alliance of private sector organisations to work towards a shared vision for global prosperity that leaves no country behind.
With the share of the private sector in GDP above 70 percent in most countries, no regional integration is sustainable without active private participation, according to the African Development Bank Group Southern Africa Economic Outlook 2019. The private sector is a beneficiary and driver of regional integration, and governments must create an accommodative landscape.
Namir Hourani, Managing Director, GMIS Organising Committee, said: “Southern Africa is undergoing great changes in its economy, and developing its manufacturing capabilities is an integral way forward for the region’s future sustainability. GMIS Connect Southern Africa demonstrated the enthusiasm of the public and private sectors to harness Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies that will reinforce both value chains and the manufacturing sector, in turn bolstering economic development.”
GMIS Connect Southern Africa is the second GMIS roadshow to be organised on a regional scale with participation from countries from the South African region, following the success of GMIS Connect East Africa in November 2019. The topics discussed at GMIS Southern Africa will contribute to setting the agenda for the next edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in 2020 which will take place from 20-21 April, alongside Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology tradeshow, in Germany.
As the world’s first cross-industry platform, the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit unites manufacturers, governments and NGOs, technologists, and investors in a mission to harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transformation of manufacturing to enable the regeneration of the global economy. The third edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit aims to inspire discussion and agreement on a strategic pathway in order to contribute to promoting sustainable industrial development through innovation and the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on a global scale.
Note to Editors
Images 1 and 2 – Namir Hourani, Managing Director, GMIS Organising Committee
Image 3 – Elsie Meintjies, Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO
Image 4 – Johansein Rutaihwa, Senior Programme Officer Industrialisation and Competitiveness
Image 5 – Policymakers Panel: How are SADC Governments Designing Digital Industrial Policies?
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The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) was established in 2015 to build bridges between manufacturers, governments and NGOs, technologists, and investors in harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) transformation of manufacturing to enable the regeneration of the global economy. A joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), GMIS is a global platform that presents stakeholders with an opportunity to shape the future of the manufacturing sector and contribute towards global good by advancing some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The first two editions of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit were held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in March 2017, and Yekaterinburg, Russia in July 2019, respectively, with each edition welcoming over 3,000 high level delegates from over 40 countries.
GMIS 2020, the third edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, will be held alongside Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade fair from 20-21 April 2020 in Hannover, Germany, and will focus on glocalisation towards inclusive and sustainable global value chains.