Manufacturing industry players say the sector needs to embrace technological advancement to be more competitive and to participate in the fourth industrial revolution. This is the view of panelists at the Manufacturing Indaba in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

The impact of changing global trade policies and fluctuation in currency has had a negative effect on the manufacturing industry’s ability to contribute to the country’s growth and to create jobs.

Trade and Industry chief director, Dr Tebogo Makube says government can give way to the fourth industrial revolution through policy certainty.

A.T. Kearney’s Theo Sibiya says South Africa’s tertiary institutions need to offer programmes that promote a culture of innovations to give learners a competitive edge. He says the manufacturing sector will need a technologically skilled work force to compete in the fourth industrial revolution.

While Ayanda Mngadi of the Manufacturing Circle says more important than currency volatility is the stability which can be achieved through policy certainty.

Mngadi says the Black Industrialist Policy is a step in the right direction towards promoting an inclusive manufacturing sector. She says it is now up to big business to support small industrialists through incubation and mentorship.

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