The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy, launched recently by government in response to South Africa’s increased need for value added product exports and manufacturing, will need R650 million over the next three years to succeed.

The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy, launched recently by government in response to South Africa’s increased need for value added product exports and manufacturing, will need R650 million over the next three years to succeed.

The Strategy was launched to increase the manufacturing and export of value-added products, and hopes to reverse the rapid decline in the manufacturing sector.

According to a report, the sector contributes more than 18 per cent of the national GDP and more than half of the exports. It is also the country’s second largest employer.

Many initiatives currently exist within government departments and the new strategy is aimed at a national approach by integrating and optimising existing strategies, according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) strategy manager Sushil Borde.

It proposes using various existing bodies such as the Automotive Industry Development Centre, and establishing new ones to drive technological advances, innovation, research and development projects.

The initiative will be co-ordinated through a national strategy team comprising government departments. Borde said that industry members representing vehicle manufacturers, amongst others, would be invited to serve on the strategy team’s board.

The science and technology department has allocated minimal funding to the initiative, but Borde has said that other government departments and the private sector will have to contribute financial resources to implement the strategy.

"Without commitment of significant resources, this strategy will not succeed," warns Borde. "The private sector has to spend more on research and development."

In line with the trade and industry department's strategy, the advanced component will initially focus on a select number of industry sectors, including the automotive, metal and chemicals sectors.