[South Africa] Significant economic growth achieved despite indirect global consequences, the dti
The Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Lionel October said that even though global growth remains subdued and South Africa was confronted by a host of indirect risks consequences that may emanate from the uncertainty of the British exit from the European Union and the ongoing tit-for-tat economic spat between the American and Chinese governments, South Africa still achieved significant strides in job creation and economic growth initiatives as an emerging economy.
October reported that the dti has since drafted the Masterplans for the Sugar and the Poultry Industries as means to protecting the two industries that have experienced direct threats from cheap imports.
“These plans are to specifically intervene and save these sectors. On sugar, we have gazetted the sugar regulation transitional arrangements which recognises the South African Farmers Development Association which represents small black farmers into the industry association. In August 2018, the Minister endorsed the International Trade Administration Commission recommendations to increase the Dollar reference price to USD 680. On poultry, duties on imports on ‘whole birds’ have been increased to 82% which is the maximum duty allowable under the World Trade Organisation commitments,” he said.
Mr. October singled out the automotive sector one of the best performing and he attributed this confidence to the notable investments from leading global vehicle manufacturers that have since resulted.
“To date, 110 000 direct jobs have been created in this sector and our exports rose from 1% to 10% of total goods exported, which has catapulted the country to status of Africa’s auto assembler. The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa expanded its Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth as part of a R3-billion investment in its South African operations. Mercedes Benz invested R10-billion into an expansion of its East London plant. All in all, leading global vehicle manufacturers have invested R45,6-billion into our economy, which accounted to over R175-billion worth of exports in 2018,” he said.
Amongst other notable achievements, October singled out the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and 10 potential investors from China, with a value of USD 10-billion.
“the dti in partnership with the Chinese Government have trained 50 South African Government officials on SEZ planning and development. That training took place in Tinajing, China in May of 2018,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina also reported that efforts to merge both the dti and Economic Development Department were at an advanced stage, as per the outcomes of the sixth administration.
“We are currently underway with the process of co-opting employees from both entities and the process should be completed next year. This will then give emergence to the new Department of Trade, Industry and Competition,” she said.