The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), in partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) will host the inaugural Economic Research Advisory Network (ERAN) Conference at the East London International Convention Centre from 10-11 March 2016. The theme of the conference is Driving South Africa’s Industrial Development Agenda.

Policy makers, government officials, academics, traditional leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), private sector, commerce and industry, labour unions, students and interested members of the public will attend the event.

ERAN is an economic research advisory network coordinated by the dti. It comprises of representatives from national and provincial economic development departments, other government entities, universities and research institutions.

“The conference will provide a platform for collaborative thinking, and discuss potential and real economic issues that hamper industrial development and economic growth. Discussions at the conference will centre mainly on issues related to how to build a progressive developmental state that is capable of growing the country’s economy thereby creating employment and eradicating poverty and inequality,” says the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies.

Minister Davies adds that the dti facilitated the establishment of ERAN last year with the purpose of creating a national research network dedicated to promoting high quality economic and development research.

“ERAN also aims to promote research in support of the dti’s strategic objectives of developing trade and industry in the country. We believe that research should contribute to sustainable development and the competitiveness of the South African economy. Research underpins all our economic policies such as the Industrial Policy Action Plan. As government we are on a mission to restructuring our economy to set it on a more value-adding, labour-intensive and environmentally sustainable growth path. Research plays a critical part in ensuring that our plans and objectives are built on well-research empirical evidence,” says Minister Davies.

The MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the Eastern Cape, Mr Sakhumzi Somyo says sustainable long-term development should be underpinned by higher growth, labour-intensive exports, and the targeting of higher value-added niche areas, led in particular by growth in manufacturing.

He adds that achieving this vision, means investing in the economic intelligence through such initiatives as the Economic Research Advisory Network.

“Policy reflection and debate is crucial to refining our instruments in response to an increasingly competitive global environment,” adds Somyo.

The Eastern Cape is proud to host the inaugural conference which will cover themes such as trade and investment, industrial development and inclusive growth.

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SOURCE: The DTI Department of Trade and Industry