The Inspire Gauteng Expo trade and investment conference was aimed at showcasing the many different investment and growth opportunities available in Gauteng’s vibrant and growing economy. It also highlighted the importance of an inclusive economy from which we can all benefit.
Even with the welcome rise in economic power in a number of provinces in South Africa, Gauteng remains the epicentre of the country’s economy and the beating heart of its trade and investment sectors.
Inspiring growth and encouraging investors to join the drive towards the country’s prosperity was the key focus of the 2017 Inspire Gauteng Expo trade and investment conference, held at Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind on 24 and 25 October.
Home to more than 14 million people and contributing about 35% of the country’s gross domestic product, the economic growth and stability of Gauteng is pivotal to the country’s development. And key to driving its growth, a number of speakers pointed out, was playing to its strengths while being ready to embrace new opportunities through business enablement.
Gauteng, open for business
Gauteng still offers local and foreign investors a multitude of investment opportunities across all sectors, with a strong emphasis being put on priority sectors such as the automotive and agro-processing industries as well as the budding creative industry, which is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Thokozani Thwala from the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency was quick to point out that South Africa as a country had turned a corner and was primed to take its place among the economic powerhouses of the world. “We don’t need charity anymore; we need investors.”
Investment was also on the agenda of Wilma Grobler, the vice-president of the South African Council for Businesswomen. “With responsible foreign direct investment, together with skills development, the unlocking of South Africa’s potential can propel us to new heights,” she said.
Another industry in Gauteng with huge potential is tourism. With numerous natural, cultural and historical destinations, such as the Dinokeng Game Reserve and the Cradle of Humankind, tourism can become a major contributor to the province’s economy.
A growing role
Thwala highlighted the importance of “not leaving anybody behind” when driving the growth of the province and the country.
“One of the things we do is what we call economic infrastructure, where the Gauteng provincial government gives us the budget to implement certain key economic infrastructure projects. Some of those projects are aimed at revitalising the economic development of our townships,” Thwala said.
Tapping into the talent and potential in Gauteng’s townships is crucial to injecting the new energy and innovative thinking needed to sustain and grow the economy.
Through business enablement as well as the creation of an environment conducive to small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs), Gauteng can fast-track its growth, while giving current and aspiring entrepreneurs a solid platform to build township economies and bring the youth to the forefront.
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