Join the 2015 South African Competitiveness Forum

Brand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum (SACF) in Johannesburg in early 2015 under the theme “Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”.

Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage.

At the forum Brand South Africa will ask participants to give their views on a number of themes, from youth and innovation to foreign direct investment, the labour market, expansion into the rest of Africa, and active citizenship.

A first at the next forum is a session on expatriate South Africans, which aims to explore ways Brand South Africa, business and civil society can work with South Africans living abroad to tell the country’s story, and improve South Africa’s global reputation.

Other exciting sessions include a workshop on the nation brand’s “outgoing strategy”. This will focus on business expansion strategy into African markets, and the role perceptions and reputation plays when entering peer markets elsewhere on the continent. Guest speakers from Kenya and Nigeria will give insight into South Africa’s place in these markets.

For more information contact Dr Petrus de Kock, research manager at Brand South Africa, at SACF@brandsouthafrica.com.

Overall theme: Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality

The theme of the second forum is focused on two concepts: active citizenship and the nation brand. The comprehensive research and outcome report from the 2013 SACF highlights insights Brand South Africa uncovered in the process. The feedback from SACF 2013 participants will inform the approach in the next SACF.

Workshop 1 – Global South Africans playing their part in creating a competitive and reputable nation brand

The first workshop will not only discuss the overall theme of the second SACF – active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality – but also examine what global South Africans are already doing to promote the nation brand. How can Brand South Africa and South African expatriates work closer together to better tell the South African story globally? How can global South Africans help in achieving the goals of the National Development Plan?

Workshop 2 – Youth, innovation and nation brand competitiveness

Based on consultations with youth organisations, this workshop will focus on active citizenship and the nation brand, existing projects that align with the NDP, small business support and business development, and social issues that impact development, particularly in townships and rural areas.

Workshop 3 – Internal and foreign direct investment

South Africa is the continent’s top destination for foreign direct investment. But what are the issues that impact on perceptions of South Africa as FDI destination and trade partner? This workshop will look at support for entrepreneurship and innovation, case studies and experiences of multinationals invested and active in the South African market, existing projects that align to the NDP, and small business support and business development.

Workshop 4 – Education and skills

This session will assemble representatives from the Department of Basic Education, as well as head teachers and civil society organisations involved in education to gain insight on South Africa’s educational strengths and weaknesses. The session will focus on partnerships for enhancing education quality and relevance to the South African economy. Important issues regarding perceptions of the education system and their implications for the country’s reputation will also be discussed.

Workshop 5 – South Africa @ Work: the role of labour in creating a new brand reality

This session will gather representatives from South African trade unions to identify the unique features, selling points and stories of South Africa @ Work. It is critical for Brand South Africa to gain insight on case studies of the contribution labour makes and how it can change the South African brand reality.

Workshop 6 – The nation brand’s ‘going out’ strategy

The second day of the SACF will open with a workshop on taking the nation brand into international markets. The session will look at the challenges and opportunities for increased cooperation between government, business, and civil society on carrying the message of South Africa into international market spaces. The session will focus on South Africa’s reputation in, exposure to, and interaction with key BRICS and African markets.