A new forum aims to bring government and business closer together to make Nelson Mandela Bay an investment city of choice.
The forum was set up following an Exporters Eastern Cape panel discussion hosted in March 2021 where the need for much more rigorous collaboration between government and business was identified by panellists and participants.
“Quite a few promises were made by various people and the theme of collaboration formed a strong part of the discussion points,” said Exporters EC Chairman, Quintin Levey, who added that after the body continued engaging with the various role-players offline, the idea of the Collaborative Forum was born.
It will initially meet once a month, and subsequently hosted their first meeting recently which was chaired by Levey.
“In the last few years there has not been close enough collaboration between public and private entities in the Eastern Cape and this new forum will ensure that everyone drives towards the same goals,” said Levey.
One of the original panellists of the Exporters EC event and a subsequent founding member of the forum is Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Director of Trade and Investment Mpho Jonas.
Jonas described the forum as “a joint public/private sector platform that supports the metro’s economic agenda and is aimed at addressing bottlenecks within the export value chain and facilitating market access into key markets”,
Other founding members of the forum are Jacob Nare (Transnet National Ports Authority), Graham Taylor (Coega Development Corporation), Deon Joubert (SJM Flex), Andre Mouton (Sundays River Citrus Company), Blaine Nell (Sovereign Foods) and Prince Matonsi (Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber).
Matonsi described the forum as a “noble initiative” aimed at aligning professional business support services to export businesses in the metro, in compliance with all the relevant applicable laws.
“This also eliminates duplication of effort amongst the different institutions. Export businesses are encouraged to take up membership with both organisations,” said Matonsi.
Five task teams were formed to take the Collaborative Forum’s initiatives forward. These are:
- Transport and Logistics – feeding into the automotive sector task team led by the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam), with a specific focus on driving efficiencies at the Nelson Mandela Bay harbours.
- Investment Incentives – aimed at encouraging foreign direct investment into the Metro through regular engagements with the Municipality on investment initiatives.
- Electricity, Water and Roads – feeding into the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Infrastructure Task Team, with a specific focus on roads and Environmental Impact Assessments.
- Skills Development – aimed at strengthening the automotive sector’s specialised skill set, as well as diversifying the region’s skills pool.
- Access to Markets – aimed at identifying new markers for exporters and local companies through government role players and entities.