China has become a major investor in important sectors of the South African economy. The two countries share in the quest for economic growth and job creation, and opportunities extend from textiles to skills development. If South Africa is to achieve its vision of a GDP of R20 trillion by 2020, the country needs resources to be able to develop rural areas, expand on infrastructure networks and to build more secure and thriving communities
Africa’s economic growth is not only driven by demand for its commodities, but also retail, telecommunications, financial services, infrastructure and agricultural industries. Member of Gauteng’s Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Sello Lemao, said that South Africa has a lot to learn from China in terms of good business practices. There are many opportunities for growth and development through bilateral trade, and South Africa is China’s key trade partner in Africa. Business between the two countries amounts to billions of Rand and is growing at an accelerated pace.
Promoting trade initiatives
To further motivate trade initiatives, The China Sourcing Fair will be held at Gallagher Convention Centre for the second consecutive year. This year, it will be hosted from 30 November until 2 December 2011. The sector-specific exhibitions will include electronics, solar and energy saving products, gifts and premiums, home products, baby and children’s products, fashion accessories, hardware and building materials. The exhibition and conference is being organised by Global Sources.
Global sources general manager, Bill Janeri says: “Country-specific exhibitions have become common practice by countries who want to create opportunities for their national brands and manufacturing competencies in global markets. The China Sourcing Fair is one of the most diversified country-specific presentations of products, systems and services, thus creating many different trading opportunities for different sectors of commerce and industry of the host country, in this case South Africa.”
Janeri says that, notwithstanding online solutions including e-commerce, exhibitions and events represent a strategic medium in the communication mix, especially as the number of shows grow year on year globally, including South Africa in both quality and content: a “They create a window of opportunity to touch and engage. The cycle of ‘time to market’ is becoming shorter and there is a new urgency to communicate directly with traders and traders with suppliers.”
Making new contacts
“Our exhibitors want to make new contacts and strengthen existing ones.” Says Janeri. “They are keen to market their merchandise and demonstrate that China provides South Africa with quality and affordable products. Our purpose is to provide buyers with direct face-to-face access to a large number of Chinese suppliers. Product sourcing and supplier evaluation processes have been re-engineered. Most of the world’s leading brands manufacture their products in China – from automotive components to cell phones. They can ill afford to have their image tarnished by inferior quality, although they reap the benefits of price/performance ratios. The Chinese are capable of producing world class products at lower costs, mainly as a result of efficient sourcing and supply strategies.”
Around the world there are many markets in transformation, moving from a third world environment, to a developmental status. South Africa has successfully moved through several processes and is respected in China for its innovative behaviour on the economic, political and social fronts. With the world’s population having more than doubled in the last 50 years, there are many challenges to give people access to affordable commodities. China has risen to this challenge and South African entrepreneurs have become pivotal in the supply chain. Improved trade and economic cooperation and common development of the two countries, facilitated by both governments, contribute to economic development and people progress. The growing number of South Africans with disposable income will continue the cycle of wealth creation, which will further fuel the need to access quality yet affordable goods and services. The China Sourcing Fair is seen as an enabler for this process.
For more information go to http://tradeshow.globalsources.com/TRADESHOW/SOUTH-AFRICA-HOMEPRODUCTS.HTM
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
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