Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Minister Sihle Zikalala recently made it very clear that investment into skills development and technology was critical to alleviate the high unemployment figure. The solution, she says will be derived through a partnership between government and private businesses that will ensure a productive manufacturing sector that is able to deliver the jobs that are needed to grow the economy.
The International Monetary Fund believes that the country’s economy is projected to grow by 0.1% this year, while the unemployment rate stood at a crippling 26.6% in June, according to Statistics SA. Zikalala says that Government’s responsibility is to ensure that the policies stimulate growth in the economy. This growth is outlined in the nine-point plan drafted by the government to encourage a strong manufacturing base.
KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy, after Gauteng and also boasts the second highest level of industrialisation in the country. “KwaZulu-Natal is optimally situated to drive a growth pattern in manufacturing. With the development of a number of economic hubs and access to thriving ports, together with strong rail and road links, the province is primed for expansion. The KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) forms an important link in the chain,” according to Charlene Hefer, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions.
Providing its 110 exhibitors with a platform to showcase their products and services to the industry, KITE continues to form an integral part of any industrial technology company’s promotional strategy. “No other locally based exhibition has the ability to attract a targeted audience that is focused on sourcing and buying the products and services on offer at KITE. The 2017 event is being held once again at the Durban Exhibition Centre, from 26 to 28 July 2017 and is set expand on its previous successes,” says Hefer.
In recognising the challenges presented by a sharp reduction in demand for mineral commodities as well as the negative impact of the drought, the province has established two substantial industrial economic hubs to enable trade. “We have Dube Trade Port and Richards’ Bay IDZ (industrial development zone), two big economic hubs that can support big and small business to trade locally and internationally. We have focused on areas like agriculture which includes agro-processing, tourism, petroleum and the motor industry,” says Zikalala.
KITE 2017 will concentrate on all of these industries, together with other manufacturing and processing sectors. “As technology changes, so we grow the exhibition to encompass all areas of industrial technology. This is apparent in the addition of a Propak Africa Pavilion to KITE 2017. In fact, KITE is unsurpassed in the sheer number of industrial technological developments it covers,” Hefer points out.
These include displays and information on construction equipment and material; electronic components, energy solutions; environmental solutions; heavy machinery; hygiene products and services; industrial equipment and components; IT and telecommunications manufacturing equipment; materials handling; monitoring, process control and sensors; security equipment; workwear and protective equipment; plant and facility equipment; safety equipment and machinery; tools; and industrial services.
In addition to such an extensive range of the province’s leading products and services, KITE also provides visitors with the opportunity to increase their knowledge base. The SAIMechE Seminar Theatre, which has proved so popular in previous years, will once again boast top-notch speakers, discussing new trends and legislation. In addition, LEEASA (Lifting Equipment Association of South Africa) will for the first time host a conference at KITE.
“We encourage companies providing industrial technology products and services to industry to capitalise on our intensive marketing campaign, which puts you top of mind for your target market. Stand space bookings are going fast, so it is important to allocate your company’s presence at KITE 2017 as a priority,” adds Hefer.