Oyewo-Umoh Adetola Elizabeth
Durban Chemical Cluster (DCC) through the fourth African Chemical Imbizo brought together the sub-Saharan chemical industry comprised of local manufacturers, SMMEs, exhibitors and trade partners from 24th -25th October at the Durban ICC. The Imbizo was a platform to identify future growth for South Africa manufacturers, critical issues impacting on the industry and to grow the value of chemical exports from KwaZulu-Natal. As well as to explore investment opportunities in South Africa, and one-on-one business linkage meetings for SMMEs, manufacturers and suppliers. To grow the value of chemical exports from KwaZulu-Natal, strengthen intra-trade export and grow the local chemical industry.
This is in recognition that the South African chemicals industry contributes 5% to the country’s GDP while local petrochemicals sector contributes 55% to the sector. Durban Chemical Cluster project Manager, Megan King pointed out that the chemical sector is the second largest manufacturing sector in Durban, with untapped export potential estimated at R19.18 billion. While KwaZulu-Natal is leader in the production of plastics and chemicals. The demand for chemical is growing but the continent is not trading sufficiently with itself and sourcing the product from countries such as Asia. Local producers shows diversification in the domestic sale and need to tap opportunity in the sector. This is crucial considering the recent signing of commitment to the African Continent Free trade Area (AfCTA) by 27 African states. South Africa has a strong chemical sector but not exporting into Africa as they should.
The Imbizo discussions centred on innovation in chemicals manufacturing, South African Chemicals Strategy, support from the DTI for the Chemicals Sector and investment opportunities. As well as study tour of Engen Refinery located at Wentworth Bluff Durban. The DCC was established in December 2008 to develop the competitiveness of the local chemical manufacturing sector in eThekwini.