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SAEEC holds upbeat AGM
11 November 2009, News

The South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) recently held its annual general meeting at the Johannesburg Country Club in Woodmead. Member companies were well represented and the welcome was extended by the chairman, Chiboni Evans from International Maritime Information Systems. SAEEC chief executive Eileen Leopold presented a summary of the year under review, and the keynote address was delivered by Clem Sunter.

SAEEC chief executive Eileen Leopold
SAEEC chief executive Eileen Leopold

In her address, Evans confirmed the appointment of the new board, representing 11 member companies with some working in executive positions in well known international technology brands, while the DTI is represented in an ex-officio capacity. Evans said, “We are very happy with the steady growth in member companies, from 26 in 2001 to 76 to date. Measuring the way forward is paramount to our member well-being, and we have launched an independent survey to learn about top export countries, member barriers to export and data relevant to training and information.”

Evans said that key focus areas for the year ahead will include innovative services to support export initiatives, assistance with compliance to ever increasing standards, legislation and directives that may affect the exporting of products and services in the sector, and engagement with key associations and with government. “Our strategy is fourfold but the common denominator is to sustain our position as a centre of competence for electrotechnical exports”, concluded Evans.

In her address, Leopold summarised the audited financial results, the membership statistics and highlights of the past year. “Our income of close to R1,7 million for the 2008 financial year is made up from membership fees, foreign marketing missions, export readiness training, Export Council matching income grant, as well as project fees. Although our year-on-year membership remained relatively constant, there was a positive development in the category for members, with more than R100 million turnover, which increased by more than 25%. While every member has equal standing and equal rights with the council, big business bodes well for our collective voice.”

Leopold said that the electrical engineering sub-sector still represents most members (32) followed by electronics (26), information technology (24) and telecommunications (23) although the member benefits cut across all disciplines. “We experienced a very active year with trade missions to Zambia and Tanzania, hosting inward trade missions from Israel, Brazil and Australia, participating in group exhibitions in Ethiopia, Germany and Cape Town, presentations to the African Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as support for members to attend specific exhibitions of interest and country workshops. SAEEC management supported member projects, gave advice on marketing strategies for exports, hosted training workshops, engaged in government programmes and facilitated the joint partnership programme with the Johannesburg Centre of Software Engineering.”

Leopold concluded on the support extended by the DTI, “Considering the strategic role the various sub-sectors play in international markets, grants made towards the electrotechnical sector as one of 22 sectors that receive sponsorship, should be given greater priority in the pecking order.”

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