Trade & Investment South Africa (TISA): briefing

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Trade, Industry and Competition

18 June 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

18 June 2003


Dr R H Davies (ANC)

Documents handed out:

TISA's Approach and Performance (PowerPoint Presentation)
EMIA Scheme (PowerPoint Presentation)

Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) briefed the Committee on its integrated manufacturing strategy and sectoral priorities for this. Members were concerned about the extent to which TISA had impacted on the levels of unemployment, requesting information on labour-intensive economic development initiatives.

TISA: Approach and Performance
Mr L Magwentshu, Chief Executive Officer: TISA, outlined the key microeconomic improvement measures necessary for economic development and growth. TISA had identified eight areas of intervention as part of the Department's integrated manufacturing strategy. These included market access; regional production; beneficiation and added value; equity and economic participation; knowledge-intensity and service integration; access to finance; and policy coherence. The strategy would target, among other sectors, agro-processing; automotives; aerospace, rail and marine transport; chemicals and allied industries; clothing, textiles, leather and footwear; communication technology and electronics; metal and mining; and tourism.

Professor S Ripinga (ANC) said that the Committee was interested in labour-intensive economic development. He asked if TISA had conducted any in-depth research on labour-intensive manufacturing and how much TISA's investment strategies had impacted on reducing unemployment levels.

Mr D Lockey (ANC) expressed concern about TISA's apparently low level of impact on import-competitive pricing. He questioned targetting the electronics industry as a sector for potential investment, since this was a highly competitive sector internationally. Perhaps it would be more advisable to invest in other less competitive areas?

The Chair suggested that TISA might want to reprioritise with a view to integrating small business opportunities into the strategy.

Ms F Mohamed (ANC) commented that job creation surely had to be one of TISA's most important objectives.

Mr Magwentshu replied that most of the issues raised also had implications for other units in the Department. Regarding labour-intensive economic development, TISA had to work within the context of available resources and skills. The agro-processing component of the strategy was labour-intensive. TISA was liaising with the Competition Commission on the issue of import-competitive pricing. Regarding the electronics industry, a recent United Nations (UN) report had pointed to high-growth levels in economies based on science and technology. South Africa needed to respond appropriately.

Mr N Zalk, Senior Manager: Strategy and Research, added that the electronics industry had been a driving force in economic development in South East Asia. Its scope was so broad that it was well-suited to conditions in developing economies like South Africa's.

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) asked whether TISA was working with the Department of Agriculture in addressing the shortage of cotton and other primary agricultural products.

A member asked about TISA's role at local government level.

The Chair commented that TISA might need to consult key players in the electronic industry before venturing into that sector.

Mr Magwentshu said that another unit in the Department was already doing so. On the issue of TISA's role at local government level, he said that the provincial Departments of Trade and Industry were exploring ways of developing and strengthening systems that would support and compliment projects at a local level. Regarding primary agricultural products, TISA was working with the Department of Agriculture on improving wool production.

The meeting was adjourned



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