[PRESS RELEASE] Officially opened by Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) on Monday, March 27 the 11th annual Proudly South African two-day Buy Local Summit & Expo closed off on a high note.
On the first day, Minister Patel and Gauteng Premier Lesufi walked the exhibition floor, engaging with the exhibitors, where the Honourable Minister ceased an opportunity to connect PG Bison (a timber manufacturer) with a bespoke local furniture manufacturer for future collaborations. Thereafter, Premier Lesufi purchased a locally-made tie by designer Ledikana.
Minister Patel said the exhibition was vital in growing the South African economy: “This expo clearly demonstrated to South Africans the talent, the industrial capability and the products that South Africans can produce. Localisation is important because, very often, countries succeed because they believe in themselves; we can talk ourselves into a depression, and we can talk ourselves into failure, or we can believe in our own capabilities and own abilities to produce world-class products that we can export, not only to neighbouring countries but to other parts of the world.
“The Buy Local Summit & Expo also provided an opportunity for people to talk about the challenges they face and discuss potential solutions for the future of the South African economy,” he said.
Bongiwe Zwane officiated the panel discussions programme which was a key feature of the conference experience. These thought-provoking dialogues covered an array of relevant topics that drive localisation and its impact on job creation and economic transformation.
Minister Patel referenced one of the Expo’s highly anticipated panel discussions on day one, The Electricity Crisis: Localisation Opportunities In The Renewable Energy Industry, facilitated by Jeremy Maggs and including panellists Justin Schmidt, who is the Head of New Development at Absa Group, Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Senior Economist: TIPS/ Facilitator of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM); Christo Fourie, Head of Energy at IDC; Eddy Mokobodi, Proudly South African member and founder of Sakisa and Mamiki Matlawa, Group Business Development Manager for Actom.
The informative and jam-packed programme under the theme Growing the Economy and Creating Jobs through Localisation included a localisation panel discussion led by economist Dr Iraj Abedian that featured NEDLAC’s overall convenor for civil society Thulani Tshefutha as well as Riefdah Ajam, General Secretary: FEDUSA and Michael Lawrence, Executive Director at the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF).
The event ended with a special Presidential Localisation Dinner with keynote address from Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Paul Mashatile. “We cannot have economic growth without localisation. The study done by [Proudly SA] confirms the link between localisation and economic growth and the different steps that the private and public sectors need to take in this area,” he said.
The dinner also saw the launch of Proudly SA’s latest commercial, Second Half, which aims to further promote buying local to South Africans from all corners of the country.
The 2023 Buy Local Summit & Expo Partners include ABSA, Sasol, Aspen, Sizwe IT, Southern Sun, GCIS, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, SA Breweries, the dtic, Brand South Africa and Trade and Industry KZN (TiKZN).