Region’s huge potential emphasised

EMERGING FORCE: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler speaks at the Manufacturing Indaba in Port Elizabeth. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
EMERGING FORCE: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler speaks at the Manufacturing Indaba in Port Elizabeth. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Bay poised to become manufacturing powerhouse, business says

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THE Eastern Cape, and specifically Nelson Mandela Bay, is ideally placed for the industrial future while asserting itself as an emerging regional manufacturing and export powerhouse.

Amid positive sentiment about the region’s economic and industrial prospects, a range of experts yesterday painted an optimistic picture at the Eastern Cape Manufacturing Indaba, held on the Port Elizabeth beachfront.

Delegates at the event – held at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre – ranged from Bay business chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler, mayor Athol Trollip and Eastern Cape Economic Development and Tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo, to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Nigel Gwynne-Evans and BAIC Automotive South Africa director Leo Liu.

Following addresses by keynote speakers, a series of panel discussions took place on topics ranging from Eastern Cape manufacturing success stories, to opportunities and growth for manufacturing outside South Africa and particularly in East and West Africa, to the value of spatial interventions such as special economic zones.

The panel discussions, one of which was moderated by The Herald deputy editor Nwabisa Makunga, comprised leaders and representatives of top manufacturing concerns and industry experts.

Included were 2016 Exporter of the Year SJM Flex SA’s Deon Joubert, Erik Hansen from Hansens Engineering, Tim van der Steene of Tag Yachts and Vincent Reddering of Dynamic Commodities.

Hansen drew attention from the audience for his comments, among others, around attracting good employees by “making manufacturing sexy again”.

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