Buy Local Summit

By Andrea Naicker

South Africa’s distinctive skills, talents and resources have paved the way for the emergence of various local businesses with unique offerings. These home-grown products and services add to our Proudly South African heritage.

Every year we showcase our locally manufactured products at the Proudly South African Buy Local Summit and expo. In March this year, the 12th edition of the Buy Local summit and expo was hosted under the theme “localisation: an inclusive approach for all sectors of society to contribute to economic growth and job creation”.

It brought together over 200 home-grown businesses in healthcare, electronics, manufacturing, textiles, agro-processing, automotive, construction, fashion, events, food and beverage as well as several other industries. These companies had an opportunity to exhibit their local offerings to South Africans and it also provided them with an opportunity for collaboration, education and empowerment.

The summit highlighted that by buying a locally made product from a business in your area, owned and managed by people who live and work in the community, we are investing in the broader development of our country.

Whilst we reflect on the impact of buying local, we are reminded of the sentiments of Deputy President Paul Mashatile, that indicated how every local transaction has a ripple effect that extends beyond our comprehension. He further said that “By purchasing locally produced food and other goods, consumers support their local economy, families, communities, and promote the culture of entrepreneurship”.

As we buy local, funds are injected back into communities, instead of large corporations that may dominate the markets and can be utilised for uplifting local communities, through building infrastructure and developing recreational facilities.

When we purchase locally produced goods and services, it strengthens the power of the Rand, positively influences our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fiscal revenue. Importantly, it keeps South Africans in employment, and as the demand for local goods and services increases there is an expansion of employment and economic opportunities.

Buying Proudly South African products also means we do so with a clear conscience because our labour legislation ensures that locally made products are a result of fair labour practices and wages.

Moreover, South Africa produces goods and services of the highest quality with the oversight of South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), ensuring that our innovative, goods meet excellent standards that are fit for local and international consumption.

The summit provided an opportunity for networking and partnership as various entities including government departments, such as the Department of Trade and Industry and Competition (DTIC) which supports local businesses to increase exports.

Through the National Exporter Development Programme, the department seeks to enhance the export of local goods and services. This contributes to strengthening international trade, enhancing foreign direct investment and enables small businesses to gain greater exposure to local and global markets.

During the summit small businesses were also encouraged to collaborate to expand their businesses, create employment and ultimately grow the economy.

Government as a big buyer in the local economy is also directing its spending towards goods produced here, including services to stimulate production in the economy. We are striving for increased localisation of supply chains and urge businesses to adhere to local content standards as part of our country’s preferential procurement policies by supporting locally made products and services.

We are working towards the further reduction of red tape, including complex regulations and processes, to enhance the ease of doing business with local manufacturers. The Public Procurement Bill also strives to create a single regulatory framework to ensure the integrity of our procurement system.

By supporting local manufacturers, we can help reduce the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Buying local makes a valuable difference to our economy and the lives of South Africans. Let us support the campaign to buy local and remember that every local transaction represents our Proudly South African heritage.