Chamber, AIDC-ECMOU  represents significant step for Bay Chamber, AIDC-ECMOU  represents significant step for Bay
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC-EC) represents a significant... Chamber, AIDC-ECMOU  represents significant step for Bay

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC-EC) represents a significant step towards driving sustainable growth and development, particularly within the automotive industry, while also benefiting other industries in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.

The MOU aims to foster collaborative efforts between the two parties, utilising existing forums and establishing a framework for joint initiatives focused on sustainable growth, job creation, and investment retention.

By joining forces, the Chamber and AIDC-EC aim to amplify their impact and make significant contributions to the economic landscape of the region.

“The MOU marks a pivotal milestone as it sets the stage for collaborative efforts between both parties as it establishes the framework for joint efforts in utilising forums created by both entities. This includes a focus on sustainable growth and development, with a particular emphasis on the automotive industry and industries as a whole in terms of retaining investment and creating jobs,” says Chamber chief executive, Denise van Huyssteen.

Van Huyssteen says the MOU also underpins the importance of this partnership as both parties seek to strengthen their strategic collaboration in utilising the forums created by both organisations in furtherance of not only sustainable growth and development of the automotive industry but industries as a whole.

“As part of the collaboration, AIDC-EC will actively take part in key initiatives organised by the Chamber, including the Investors Forum, the Electricity Task Team, and the Transport and Logistics Task Team. This will ensure that they work jointly and collaborate in finding solutions to the ease of doing business such as water and electricity supply, including major challenges relating to transport and logistics, as these impact upon the local manufacturing sector and the local economy as a whole.” 

The AIDC-EC will further play an active role in the Chamber’s Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank work streams relating to the automotive industry. The platform incorporates the participation of engineers and innovators from a range of various leading companies in the Metro. Advocacy and lobbying, which has, as its goal to create an enabling environment for the automotive industry, will serve as a support tool for AIDC-EC’s efforts to ensure sustainability in this key sector.

AIDCEC chief executive Thabo Shenxane welcomed the partnership as it reaffirms the importance of collaboration among key stakeholders in the Metro to help spur the city’s economic growth by addressing some of the challenges impacting the ease of doing business.

“Closer partnerships among key stakeholders, including the automotive industry, are seen as critical to spurring economic growth and addressing challenges impacting the ease of doing business in the region. This includes preparing the automotive sector to become globally competitive, particularly in light of shifts towards new energy vehicle technology. The manufacturing sector plays a pivotal role in the province’s economy and job creation, and accounts for over 40% of the country’s produced vehicles and over 60% of its automotive exports,” says Shenxane.

“As such, it becomes very important that we find mutually beneficial synergies as key stakeholders so that the projected significant employment opportunities presented by a re-shaped value-chain for new energy vehicles are exploited by locally skilled candidates,” he says.

The Chamber has formed strategic national partnerships with organisations such as Naacam and the Presidential Climate Commission. Additionally, there are informal working relationships with Business Leadership South Africa, and efforts are underway to formalise a partnership with the South African Consumer Goods Council, including Business Against Crime.

The partnerships aim to leverage the collective strength of all key stakeholders to position the region as the hub of automotive nationally and in Africa, and to remain competitive in the evolving global automotive landscape. This is even more compelling for the Eastern Cape as the auto industry celebrates 100 years since the first automobile was assembled in a Ford plant in Gqeberha, further says Shenxane.

Antoinette Panton

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