President Ramaphosa urges private sector to buy from black SMMEs

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President Ramaphosa urges private sector to buy from black SMMEs

Ramaphosa was addressing delegates at the opening of the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg last week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Presidency/Twitter

Author: Patrick Wadula

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JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that unless there is a commitment from the private sector to increase their procurement from emerging Black businesses, the country runs the risk of stifling economic growth.

Ramaphosa was addressing delegates at the opening of the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg last week.

He said the country ran the risk of empowerment opportunities being confined to Black businesses only transacting with government entities.

Ramaphosa said the conference was an opportunity to reflect on progress in advancing redress and equity in the South African economy.

“An economy that only benefits a few, and does not reflect the country’s demography, will never be sustainable or dynamic. There can be no growth without economic inclusion and without a business sector that reflects the diversity of our people and our society.

“There can be no inclusive recovery and reconstruction unless broad-based Black economic empowerment is at the centre of our efforts.”

He said there was a need for an established business to understand that transformation was vital for sustained
growth, and that it was in everyone’s interests that the substantial capabilities of the private sector were mobilised to support Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.

“Working together, we can grow this economy, create jobs, and ensure that no one is left behind, said Ramaphosa.

He added that the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference was an opportunity to reflect on progress in advancing redress and equity in the South African economy.

“It was important to have a frank conversation about impediments to the expansion of Black business, not just from government, but from the private sector as well.

“We need to talk about private sector procurement, about value chains, about access to financing for emerging Black business and about how existing systems militate against emerging Black business.

“We need to act decisively and urgently to end the load shedding that is causing such damage to our economy and such disruption to our society.

He said the conference, needed to produce solutions to the challenges facing Black entrepreneurs.

He gave an example, of how the private sector could scale up mentoring so emerging Black businessmen and women do not find themselves set up for failure.

Ramaphosa said there was a need to talk about private sector procurement, value chains, access to financing for emerging Black businesses and how existing systems militate against emerging Black businesses.

He pointed out that the deliberations from this conference should result in commitments from the private sector to procure more from emerging Black businesses and to support their integration into value chains.

“They must do this even if it means changing value chains to accommodate Black business, he said.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel confirmed there were more than 1,000 delegates attending the conference that including CEOs of 650 black-owned firms drawn from all parts of the economy.

He also added that there were 18 funding entities that finance small and medium-sized businesses, including commercial banks, development finance institutions like the Industrial Development Corporation and the National Empowerment Fund, and other funders.

There were 142 exhibitors who were showcasing their products in the marketplace that has been set up as part of the conference.

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