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Building bridges between South Africa and Italy

Building bridges between South Africa and Italy

The European House-Ambrosetti is launching the first ‘South Africa-Italy Summit’ that will take place from 2 to 3 October 2014 in Cape Town, at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

The purpose of creating this community, that will from now on gather annually, is to foster a strong, long-lasting partnership between entrepreneurs and enterprises of the two countries, and between South Africa and Italy. 

The inaugural summit will bring together 100 selected CEOs, leading economists and governmental authorities from the two countries, creating a community of South African and Italian leaders for investing in both countries and their related regions.

The South Africa-Italy Summit will be an elite event, matched only by the World Economic Forum in Davos, The European House-Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, and the BOAO Forum in Hainan. It will be a first in Africa, with the vision of including more African countries in future events.

Says Paolo Borzatta from The European House-Ambrosetti, “I have learned on different continents, as an international strategy consultant, that this approach – to build a community – is the only way of creating the necessary trust, confidence, and shared strategic vision for increasing significant investments in foreign countries”.

The bilateral trade between South Africa and Italy (total value of €3.5 billion in 2013 – total value of R51.5 billion in 2013) and the investment flows (€250 million in 2012 – R3.7 billion in 2012) are below its potential. The approach will be to focus on the strengths of both countries to exploit the opportunities to grow together and faster. 

South African and Italian industrial systems are complementary in several aspects. South Africa requires medium-high technology SMEs, which are one of the key strengths of Italy’s industrial system, in addition to the world-class manufacturing excellences (among these, fashion, agri-business, machinery/equipment and automotive). In return, South Africa can offer Italy a complete structured financial system, a growing internal demand and a sound-manufacturing base for expanding in African and other international markets.

A better shared knowledge of Italy and South Africa with their respective regions is pivotal to build a profitable political and economic partnership.

After in-depth research, analysis and discussions with industry leaders from both countries, a framework for key opportunities has been developed to address specific needs in selected sectors. The inaugural summit will focus on manufacturing, energy and agri-business.

Manufacturing is an important challenge for South Africa. Manufacturing’s share of South Africa’s economy fell from 21,9% in 1992 to 12,4% in 2012. On the contrary, Italy’s has grown and it is the second highest manufacturing country in the EU with a manufacturing gross added value of €216.5 billion.

South Africa is relying on coal and oil for more than 93% of its energy production, while in recent years there have been a major push towards cleaner and renewable energy sources. There are various opportunities for Italy to partner in programmes on new technologies including smart grids and energy efficiency.

South Africa’s total importation of agri-food products from Italy is less than 1%, making it a huge opportunity for growth. Italy has extensive experience and expertise to offer South African companies in managing small farms, agri-processing and food packaging.

Working papers will be presented in these key areas during the summit in order to provide a constructive base for improving bilateral trade.

An international think tank – composed of influential business leaders, politicians and experts – will provide the summit with innovative and effective strategic insights and ideas to enhance economic, business and cultural ties between South Africa and Italy. Among the members are Alec Erwin, former minister of Public Enterprises and former minister of Trade and Industry, South Africa; Maurizio Mariano, attorney, founder and director of BBM Law firm; Tseke Nkadimeng, CEO, Afric Oil; Ndaba Ntsele, executive chairman and co-founder, Pamodzi Group; Prof Andrea Riccardi, former minister for International Cooperation, Italy and founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio; Dr Iqbal Survé, founder and chairman, Sekunjalo Group; H.E. Vincenzo Schioppa, ambassador of Italy to South Africa; and H.E. Nomatemba Tambo, ambassador of South Africa to Italy.

The European House-Ambrosetti (TEH-A) is a professional management consultancy, operating since 1965. The group has seven offices in Italy and eleven abroad, in addition to other partnerships around the world. TEH-A was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania the no. 1 think tank in Italy, 4th in Europe and 16th on a worldwide level.

Grown Consulting is the South African partner of TEH-A for delivering this project. As a development consultancy, GrownConsulting is developing people, organisations, and communities through offering various internationally acclaimed and locally accredited training solutions, organisational development services, corporate governance and CSI services as well as enterprise and community development solutions.

The senior partners in charge of the project are Paolo Borzatta from TEH-A and Nico de Kock from Grown Consulting.

The project is sponsored by Standard Bank, DHL Global Forwarding, CLN-MA Group, 8a+ Investimenti SGR, Building Energy, Fondazione Sicilia and Grown Consulting.

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