Indaba to examine viability of the ‘million jobs’ plan

The feasibility of the Manufacturing Circle’s plan to create a million jobs in the industry within the next ten years will come under the spotlight at the Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba this year.

Last year, the Manufacturing Circle launched its “Map to a Million New Jobs in a Decade” plan which proposed that expansion of South Africa’s manufacturing sector to 30% of GDP would create between 800 000 and 1.1 million direct jobs and about five to eight times that number in indirect jobs.

Manufacturing Circle chairman, André Ruyter, said that this was of paramount importance as the industry had shed close to half a million jobs in the past two decades and currently only contributed to just under 13% of the country’s GDP – less than half what is appropriate for South Africa’s stage of development.

However, according to Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa CEO, Kaizer Nyatsumba, reaching this goal could be more difficult than initially presumed. This is due to a stagnant economy, realisation of the fourth industrial revolution which is likely to result in further mechanisation within the sector, along with the possibility of an influx of imported goods from China as the Asian economy seeks new markets following its trade war with the US.

“It is therefore against this backdrop that we felt it was important to use the platform provided by the Indaba to critically review the initiative and find ways of ensuring that it succeeds,” he said.

The Indaba will be held at the Independent Development Corporation’s conference centre in Sandton from 20 to 21 September.

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