The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has stated that the current economic climate has forced South Africa and majority African countries that are commodity dependent to refocus their attention on the urgency of economic diversification, revitalisation of manufacturing and innovation.
Davies was speaking during the ‘Investment Dialogue’ session that formed part of Investing in African Mining Indaba programme in Cape Town, on Monday.
Davies further pronounced that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will offer new opportunities to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth by fast tracking market integration in Africa through industrial corridors and regional integration.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have an impact on manufacturing and how things are done in the economy. We need to start preparing ourselves to respond to it,” said Davies.
Furthermore, Davies added that the effects of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will not be limited to the manufacturing area, rather they would extend to service sectors, including e-commerce and the legal and accounting professions.
“We need to understand what the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is and unpack how South Africa could benefit from it, especially when it comes to capitalising on innovation. Our country is gearing up collectively between the mining industry, government and labour in preparation of the eminent headwinds in the mining and minerals industry. Central to this are the opportunities to extend and strengthen value chains through further downstream manufacturing. Significant value chain opportunities already exist and are being operationalised as set out in the successive iterations of the Industrial Policy Action Plan,” he said.
Minister Davies also stated that beneficiation is no longer something we want to talk about but rather do.
The Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane invited investors and mining companies to explore opportunities to partner with South Africa in the beneficiation of minerals to ensure stable and growing demand for mineral resources.
“We have developed a programme for Special Economic Zones, with an array of tax and investment incentives as well as bulk infrastructure to support the growth of mineral beneficiators,” he said.
Zwane clarified that in their effort to support investment in mining and beneficiation, they have a particular focus on the growth and promotion of small and medium sized enterprises.
“We are of the firm view that a new era of junior to mid-tier sized mines is upon us. We further believe that most job opportunities lie with small to medium companies, hence in 2017 we will be focusing on the Promotion of Investment, with a special focus on junior miners. We will continue to give them the support to enable them to thrive,” added Zwane.