Eastern Cape exports showing form

In 2015, the Eastern Cape's exports by 12 per cent, contributing 4.5% to all South Africa's exports says the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).

Presenting the keynote address at Exporter of the Year Awards in Port Elizabeth on Friday, DEDEAT MEC Sakhumzi Somyo is upbeat about the province's export performance which ranks fourth of the nine provinces.

He explains that accelerated export promotion activities are increasingly important considering that the Eastern Cape is a net importer of goods.

However, he notes with concern, that the provincial economy trade deficit widened from R7.2 billion in 2014 to R11 billion in 2015.

"It is equally concerning that the Nelson Mandela Bay still dominates and has the largest share of the provincial total exports (91%). Following by some way back is the Sarah Baartman District (5%) and the Buffalo City Metropolitan (3%)," he says.

Key destinations for provincial exports in 2015 were Europe, followed by Asia with a significant surge of exports to Africa and the Americas.

In Africa, the Southern African Development Community and Southern African Customs Union constitute about (80%) of Eastern Cape's exports followed by Eastern Africa (14%) and Western Africa (3.4%).

"The export community of Eastern Cape is growing, playing an important role in the actualisation of government's aim to increase the value of trade in the province as well as the number of exporters.

However, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the provincial economic development agency, is working to spread the export pie to entrepreneurs in all districts of the Eastern Cape.

He explains that, over the last 10 years, ECDC has provided export support programmes aimed at improving the competitiveness of local entrepreneurs to ensure their market readiness to compete on a global scale.

Fruits of these programmes' success are evident with the win of the Exporter of the Year Award by an ECDC-supported exporter Jendamark.

Currently, ECDC is targeting Asia and more specifically China, Hong Kong and Macao, Japan and South Korea, the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.

In pursuing these new markets, ECDC has opened up access to the lucrative and expansive Chinese consumer market. This has benefited Eastern Cape exporters like Molteno-based Berrynice, Hinterveld, Mend-A-Bath, Carara, Makana Meadery and Sage Kitchen.

The expansion efforts have been bolstered by the establishment of an International Trade Desk at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber through ECDC.

The international desk means to strengthen ties with other embassies, promote trade into the Eastern Cape, partner with ECDC in hosting international delegations and field trade queries from potential importers of the Eastern Cape's products and match exporters with potential clients.

Full list of winners

  • SJM Flex Environmental award – This category is this year for exporters who are ISO 14001 accredited and who pursue excellence in environmental management. Merit awards to Ford Motor Company South Africa and General Motors South Africa for their continuous improvement. 2016 winner of this category was Volkswagen Group South Africa
  • IDC Job Creation award – This category is this year for exporters who have created the most sustainable jobs over the last year. A merit award to Jendamark Automation for their skills development and Ford Motor Company of South Africa for their job creation. 2016 winner of this category was SRCC Holdings
  • Best provider of services to exporters – This category is for service providers to the export industry, usually forwarding and clearing agents, shipping lines and agents, other forms of transport including courier, insurance agents, underwriters, financial services providers. A Merit award to Motor Industry Customs Brokers for their increase in turnover and profitability. 2016 winner of this category was Morgan Cargo
  • Best exporter – small business – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover up to R25 million. Merit award to Mend A Bath International for their entrepreneurial flair.
  • Best exporter – medium enterprise – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover between R25 and R200 million. A merit award to Hansens Engineering for their increase in turnover and profitability
  • Best exporter – corporate – This category is for direct and indirect exporters with export turnover greater than R200 million. A merit award to Eberspacher South Africa for their entrepreneurial flair and major accomplishments, a merit award to SRCC Holdings for their job creation and capital investment and merit award to Jendamark Automation for their increased turnover and job creation. 2016 winner was SJM Flex SA
  • Best exporter – OEM – This category is for manufacturers of original equipment for the automotive industry. A merit award to Ford Motor Company for their increased turnover and job creation. 2016 winner was Volkswagen Group South Africa.
        • Exporter of the year 2016 – The winner of this award is the entity that in the judge's opinion achieved the most success in the period under review. The winner of the Exporter of the year is one of the relevant category winners. 2016 Exporter of the Year was SJM Flex SA.