The South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC) announced at its AGM recently that year-on-year membership until June 2009 increased from 76 to 90. The council also announced that the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) has doubled its annual grant to export councils to a maximum of R1 million based on the contributions from private sector membership revenue.
SAEEC chief executive, Eileen Leopold says: “The increase in the contribution from the DTI underscores the confidence it has in the work that we do as facilitators for members in international markets. Our members in the telecommunications, information technology, electronics and electrical engineering sectors are characterised by a combination of entrepreneurial qualities underpinned by strong design and implementation processes. The successes that our members recorded at numerous exhibitions and events have been reported on and attracted new members who are seeking new markets on the African continent and further abroad. It has also enabled us to strengthen our staff complement to sustain service excellence for our members.”
Export promotion support for members included trade missions to India and the DRC, preparation of a business plan for prepayment metering to establish a certification body for electricity meters for utilities, as well as the gathering of market intelligence for telecommunications opportunities in Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, the DRC, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Leopold says that the Council was proactive in its support for members to develop their export capabilities. “We arranged eight export training workshops, an enterprise investment programme, a session on how to conduct business in Angola, four road shows for the software sector, tailored trade statistics as well as assistance for members to set up a DTI EMIA master file.”
In an effort to further establish member interest, the SAEEC also participated in other government programmes including ones on capital programme feasibility studies, enterprise investment programmes for stimulating local manufacturing and the competitor supplier development programmes under the Department of Public Enterprise, as well as representation on the EMIA Rules Committee. Leopold says that South Africa has a distinct competitive advantage: “Local companies are leaders in applying technology and developing innovative solutions. Given our unique demographic situation we understand the needs of emerging markets, particularly in Africa. Our members combine world-class standards and design innovation and are credible partners for developing solutions. Opportunities for partnerships and a high level of product development make South African companies excellent partners of choice and a gateway to the African continent.”
The AGM was also addressed by guest speaker Peter Draper, research fellow of the South African Institute of International Affairs on the regional economic integration puzzle and implications for business. The event was concluded with a structured speed networking session with members in attendance at assigned company display points.
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