On Friday night, the provincial chapter of the Exporters’ Club of South Africa held its annual awards banquet in Port Elizabeth, giving a rare platform to local companies to swank about their achievements in the global market.
It was a reminder that, despite the economic headwinds at home, opportunities are available beyond our borders. That should offer some hope, because too often we get bogged down by our own navel-gazing.
Also, there is much to be said for vision and focus, and the rewards that accumulate to those who execute plans well, without fear.
A number of firms were recognised for impressive gains in earnings and job creation, displaying tremendous growth prospects for the future, at a time when our own economy has little appetite for expansion.
Globally, economic conditions are only slightly better, but still too soft to predict when and from where the next growth spurt will come.
So selling into a foreign market is no guarantee of success. In fact, several bluechip firms can attest to the difficulties of expansionary policies on our continent.
Those spreading their wings into Europe and the UK are nursing post-Brexit wounds, demonstrating just how little certainty a company can bank on in this benign investment environment.
Which makes the accomplishments of our own manufacturers exemplary and deserving of their moment in the limelight.
Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo delivered the keynote address and revealed how important Nelson Mandela Bay is to the province’s foreign fortunes.
That is because the metro accounts for 91% of the Eastern Cape’s exports, followed by the Sarah Baartman Municipality and Buffalo City.
Which goes to show that, in business terms, we are a centre of excellence.
The point has been belaboured by many, but with two harbours and a development zone on our doorstep, our collective vision should be long, far and high.
Congratulations then to SJM Flex South Africa for winning overall exporter of the year and flying Nelson Mandela Bay’s flag proudly.