10 March 2011
Industry stakeholders, economists and the provincial government described Gauteng province as a compelling automotive investment destination at the opening of the Automechanika South Africa 2011 trade fair in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Hosted at the Johannesburg Expo Centre by the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), the conference outlines the opportunities, requirements and required processes for potential international automotive investors.
The AIDC is one of two automotive-focused subsidiaries of Blue IQ, the Gauteng government agency tasked with promoting sustainable economic growth in the province.
Blue IQ boss Amanda Nair said delegates at the first day of the four-day conference gained a valuable snapshot of the automotive industry in Gauteng, its impressive capabilities and the investment opportunities it presents.
The South African government has demonstrated its commitment to growth in the sector through the Automotive Production and Development Programme, with its wide range of incentives and tax measures, that will become effective in 2012.
The Gauteng Economic Growth and Development Strategy has singled out the automotive and component industries for future infrastructure investment, policy interventions and growth incentives from the side of government.
“In recent interactions with several automotive suppliers that have considered setting up manufacturing facilities in Gauteng, investors have spoken of the difficulties experienced in gathering information on the automotive manufacturing sector in Gauteng, specifically incentives offered by Gauteng,” Nair said.
“An international trade fair such as today provides an opportunity not only to meet and engage with interested investors and industry stakeholders attending the expo, but also to send a clear message beyond these doors that Gauteng is well-positioned to facilitate investment.”
The publication “Gauteng’s Automotive Value Proposition 2011”, containing helpful contact details and outlining pertinent issues for investors, was launched at the conference.
Delegates were invited to a special site tour of the world-class Automotive Supplier Park, another Blue IQ initiative, to evaluate the province’s existing manufacturing infrastructure first-hand.
“Automechanika is the world’s leading automotive trade fair,” said AIDC chief executive officer Barlow Manilal. “Potential investors will be in our province [this week] and will have the opportunity to be introduced to the right people so that networks can be established to take their investments further.
“The AIDC plays a unique role in engaging with both industry and government role-players, and we look forward to contributing to the efforts of our colleagues in promoting foreign direct investment, with a specific focus on the automotive sector,” Manilal said.
Speakers at the conference included Econometrix economist Tony Twine as well as senior officials from the Department of Trade and Industry and Gauteng’s agencies for economic development and trade promotion.