Bid to boost KZN export industry
30 October 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812465
IN a coordinated effort to grow the export industry in KwaZulu-Natal, the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Productivity SA has introduced a programme to improve the productivity and competiveness of exporters and prospective exporters in KwaZulu-Natal.
The programme, named the KZN Exporter Competitiveness Programme (KECP), was launched at an event held at a Durban hotel.
The province’s Deputy Director General of Economic Development and Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Sihle Mkhize said, the programme was a customised offering and a first of its kind in South Africa meant to directly stimulate the province’s competiveness.
The programme was initiated and funded by EDTEA, and is being implemented in partnership with Productivity SA. Recently, SEDA have also come on board and pledged funding support for the emerging exporters, as well as business development support for the programme, while Trade and Investment KZN will assist in driving market access for participating companies.
“Through this programme we aim to address four main pillars. Firstly, we would like to address firm-level productivity. Hence, we forged this partnership with Productivity SA who are experts in productivity enhancement. Secondly, we intend to increase global market access for KZN businesses, resultantly increase the value and volume of KZN exports. Part of our vision is to achieve this through increasing our footprint on the African continent and within the BRICS countries. Thirdly, we would like to enhance the province’s value chain efficiency,” Mkhize said.
“The Department is already driving the Special Economic Zones and Industrial Hubs initiatives in KZN. As such, in order to enhance value efficiency, we will continue to invest significantly in industrial parks in order to ensure that our firms benefit from economies of scale. The fourth aspect of the programme is aimed at stimulating innovation within our province by facilitating strategic partnerships between government, business and research organisations. Hence, we would like to not only strengthen our ability to absorb modern technology, but also capacitate ourselves to create new technology.”
The Chairman of the Productivity SA Board Mthunzi Mwaba said the programme stands to improve the productivity of the exports industry in KwaZulu-Natal. “You cannot talk about the minimum wage without talking about productivity.”
Key objectives of the programme include a drive to improve and modernise KZN exporter practices and infrastructure, create opportunities for the previously disadvantaged and enable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to actively participate in the export market.
The programme has created cluster of companies which will collaborate to share best practices. The SMMEs also stand to leverage greatly from established entrepreneurs.
The KECP will form part of the KZN Export Strategy. A key strategic partnership with Productivity SA would merge the export development and growth aims of EDTEA with Productivity SA’s expertise in capacity building and productivity improvement.
In the first phase of the programme 20 companies have already signed up and R2 million disbursed for training and development.