ECDC to host inaugural regional exporters awards
Excitement is building ahead of the first-ever Southern Africa Regional Exporters Awards that will be held in East London on Wednesday.
Held under the theme “Celebrating the Export Excellence of Southern African Brands”, the awards will celebrate companies that managed to bring innovation and ingenuity into the international trading space.
The event will be hosted by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, in partnership with the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub).
ECDC acting trade, investment and innovation head Phakamisa George said they were honoured to be part of the event, celebrating excelling firms that managed to be successful during the trying circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is not individual performance but a collaboration that will take us forward,” he said.
“Countries with a more open economy and export programme have more opportunities to absorb the necessary technologies and innovations to take them forward.”
Competing at the awards will be the winners of the country-level export awards from eight countries in the region.
These are SA, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Zambia.
According to the event website, the USAID TradeHub actively engages with the mentioned countries in Southern Africa to increase sustainable growth, competitiveness, and trade between them.
“Countries within the SADC [Southern African Development Community] had their own competitions but it is still important to have awards for the region to recognise excellent work in exporting from the SADC countries to SA, as well as to the US market.
“This is important because it is promoting a desire between SADC companies to see the US market as a prospect,” George said.
The finalist export firms will square off for the coveted title of Regional Exporter of the Year.
Other supplementary categories at the awards ceremony are Buyer of the Year, Capital Provider of the Year and Trade Promotion Service Provider of the Year.
George said the ECDC was excited to host the inaugural event.
“We are excited about the quality of the participants.
“I am sure whoever does not win will feel it is a worthy endeavour to participate in.
“All of them can win because they have all done well to promote trade within the SADC,” he said.
SA AGOA Exporter of the Year Technical Systems customer relations officer Jean Joubert said the inception and recognition from the awards would inspire companies to pursue being players in the exporting space more.
“It is important to emphasise that South African companies are more than capable of being market leaders in their respective industries and give hope to local companies to grow, achieve more than they ever said possible and, in turn, create valuable job opportunities that SA needs so dearly.
“Highlighting the achievements of local companies on the world stage, not only motivates the employees of these companies, but also inspires other local companies to try to compete on the world stage,” Geoge said.
Technical Systems is listed as an industry leader in the production of agricultural feeding conveyors made from heat-treated steel, which will represent SA at the regional awards.
Other finalists include:
- Plastic Packaging, a manufacturer of polythene flexible packaging solutions products as well as a recycling factory of post-industrial and post-consumer waste providing for the manufacturing of second life-cycle products in Namibia;
- Malawi Conforzi Plantations for the processing and marketing of tea, macadamia and poultry products for export to SA & USA;
- Two Six Zero Brands, from Zambia, for the production of top-quality maize and soya-based products sourced from local farmers to provide for the need of the Zambian market;
- Radical Investments trading as Flotek Pipes and Irrigation from Botswana for the manufacturing of pipe fittings, tanks and irrigation products to supply a network of branches in the SADC countries;
- Liberation Clothing, from Lesotho, which produces PPE clothing. They have an innovative in-house designer team to design and produce according to their customers’ requirements, exporting to the US;
- Korosho Moçambique Limtada, from Mozambique, which produces 2,500 tonnes of cashew nuts a year pushing for 10,000 tonnes by year-end. They have two processing plants. The nuts are exported to SA, Europe, Asia, the US and Canada among other places; and
- Far East Textiles Pty, from Eswatini, for producing various clothing brands for The Foschini Group in SA and empowering rural women to prepare them for opening their own businesses in the manufacturing of clothing.
The judging panel at the awards comprises experts with international business experience drawn from the private and public sectors.
The awards will be held at the East London International Convention Centre. It will be a hybrid event with participation being both physical and virtual.
- This article is sponsored by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation
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