Eastern Cape Export Symposium to lift the lid on Country’s Export Potential

Eastern Cape Export Symposium to lift the lid on Country’s Export Potential

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) will host the fourth annual Eastern Cape Export Symposium and Exhibition in September with a vision of accelerated export growth from the region which boasts no less than three ports and two special economic zones.

While the Eastern Cape on South Africa’s eastern seaboard leads the country’s exports in light vehicles, Mohair, Wool and certain agricultural produce, it has yet to reach its full export potential.

The forthcoming Eastern Cape Export Symposium and Exhibition, to be held in person on September 14 and 15 at the East London ICC, will be instrumental in “lifting the lid” on the region’s export ambition says ECDC Export Director, Phakamisa George.

“A plethora of resources from funding and market-access opportunities to policy incentives will be shared with prospective and existing exporters as a means to not only broaden the base of exporters but grow existing exports.’’

Under the theme “ International trade – a lever for economic recovery”, the symposium is timed in the midst of the pandemic which has radically restrained trade and networking opportunities world-wide.

The ECDC believes pent up demand has created an appetite and an opportunity for trade which has been further strengthened by the African Free Trade Agreement and its incentives for intra-African trade among the ongoing development of other export incentives, efficiencies and trade agreements.  

“That intra-African trade constitutes only 16% of total trade in Africa is alarming but also points to the scale of the opportunity.’’

George says the Eastern Cape seeks to extend its markets for both existing and new products in a range of sectors, some of which already demonstrate the quality of produce and efficient global distribution achieved through the region’s committed supply chain. These sectors include, but are not limited to, automotive and agriculture (livestock, mohair, wool, citrus, timber, tea and agri-processing).

The Eastern Cape is the country’s biggest lemon producer, exporting more lemons than the US, Brazil, Egypt or Italy and also exports more than half of South Africa’s light vehicles. According to data released by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), the Eastern Cape has the largest percentage of the country’s livestock – 38% of its goats, 30% of its sheep and 25% of its cattle. It produces more than 15-million kilograms of wool a year and supplies more than half of the world’s mohair. The province is also home to 16% of the country’s milk producers, which account for 26% of the milk produced in South Africa. 

There is massive opportunity for growth of exports across numerous sectors, says George. “From agriculture to technology the Eastern Cape has already demonstrated its capability.”

George also points out that East London remains the only South African port to export live animals in South Africa, and sought to increase exports of this nature, while the province had also started investing in cannabis production as a breakthrough commodity in the commercial space.

While the symposium, exhibition and match-making meetings will foster interest from international buyers for locally produced goods, a key aspect of the conference, says George, is to inject energy into the vision and plan held by local export facilitators, including port operators, to optimise the processes that enable export growth.  

“When logistics infrastructure works according to our plans, ports and container terminals will have higher capacity and productivity, more shipping lines will be inclined to stop at our ports, freight costs will be reduced, and the result will be evident in export growth.”

The conference aspect of the symposium will be run over two days both in person and LIVEstreamed.


Numerous stakeholders play a role in optimising exports from the region. This session provides these roleplayers, exporters, partners and potential investors with a comprehensive and complete, multi-disciplinary view of the trends, new developments, opportunities, strengths and improvement areas that define and drive the export ambition.


Prospective and existing exporters require uptodate information on available support services, resources and policy movements that promote export growth. Fresh among these is the African Collective Free Trade Area

The conference line up is made up of policy and export experts, as well as CEO’s of the region’s most prolific and innovative exporters. Match-making sessions will be hosted concurrently, linking exporters to buying agents and country representatives from a range of countries such as the United States of America (USA), the EU, Ghana, U.A.E, Ethiopia, Guinea and Botswana.”

“Geopolitical changes caused by global power shifts, the unprecedented global pandemic and the African Continental Free Trade Area are some of the topics to be considered.”

“The discussions on the symposium will look at how the Eastern Cape and businesses within the province can capitalise on these changes for ensuring sustainable economic recovery.”

The exhibition will be hosted in person only and the Conference will allow for physical and online participation on:

  • Date: 14 and 15 September 2022
  • Time: 09h00
  • Venue in-contact: East London International Convention Centre
  • Registration is required at ecexportsymposium.co.za.


Issued by Inkanyezi Events (admin@ecexportsymposium.co.za;  Contact DD Engelke 082 692 4382)

On behalf of the ECDC

Martina Biene to succeed Robert Cisek as Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa

Martina Biene to succeed Robert Cisek as Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa

Kariega – Robert Cisek will leave Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) on 31 October 2022 to take up the position of Head of Volkswagen Small and Compact Product Line in Wolfsburg, Germany, reporting to Thomas Schaefer, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand.

Martina Biene, who is currently the Head of Volkswagen Small and Compact Product Line, will succeed Cisek as the Chairperson and Managing Director of VWSA once all the necessary regulatory approvals have been attended to.

Cisek took over the reins at VWSA in November 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He successfully led VWSA through a turbulent period of semiconductor shortages, which impacted Kariega plant production and vehicle sales. Cisek also ensured that no jobs were lost at VWSA during this period.

Biene is returning to VWSA for her second spell, following her tenure as the Head of Volkswagen Passenger Brand from October 2018 until August 2020.Biene has 20 years of experience in the Volkswagen Group, having worked in Sales, Marketing, Product Planning and Product Marketing for Luxury Vehicles and the Volkswagen Brand in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and South Africa.

“I would like to thank Robert for steering VWSA to a stable position during a highly challenging period for the local and global automotive industry. I am looking forward to having him back in Wolfsburg to head our small and compact product line, which will play an important part in the future of our product portfolio in emerging markets like South Africa,” said Schaefer.

“Martina is returning to the market which she knows very well after her successful time as the Head of the Volkswagen Brand Sales and Marketing. Her mandate is to sustain VWSA’s strong position in South Africa, and to continue to pursue Volkswagen’s plans to grow the Brand in the Sub-Saharan Africa markets,” added Schaefer.

“I wish both Robert and Martina success in their new roles. I am confident that their experience and commitment to Volkswagen will benefit their teams positively,” concluded Schaefer.

Meet the new Exporters Eastern Cape leadership team

Meet the new Exporters Eastern Cape leadership team

The new leadership team at the helm of Exporters Eastern Cape has been serving the business community of the province voluntarily for a combined 35 years.

The experienced leadership team consists of Quintin Levy, Eastern Cape Exporters Chairman, and Deon Joubert, Eastern Cape Exporters Vice-Chairman.

Levey joined the Exporters Eastern Cape committee in 2008 and was elected chairman in 2009 – a position he has held for the past 13 years. His day job, when he is not coaching hockey or managing export relations in the province, is working as a Senior Manager: Audit Eastern Cape for KPMG.

Asked why he stayed engaged with the organisation for so long, Levey explains: “The Eastern Cape has great potential in being a significant export destination. Exporters Eastern Cape plays a role in assisting exporters take advantage of this potential and help our exporters be globally competitive”.

Levey and Joubert have also previously worked together in the Chair/ Vice-Chair-combination. “We both share the same passion for the Eastern Cape and work really well in driving the organisation to meet our objectives,” said Levey.

Joubert, Managing Director of SJM South Africa, Mexico and Morocco, has been volunteering in various roles for Exporters Eastern Cape for the past 21 years and besides for being an avid networker at events hosted by Exporters Eastern Cape, he enjoys sharing his wealth of experience with other exporters.

“I believe it is important to share my experience with especially new potential exporters. There are so many pitfalls when entering into the export world, so why re-invent the wheel? Lessons learnt, the hard way, should be shared for the betterment of all potential exporters,” said Joubert.

Both Joubert and Levey share a vision for Exporters Eastern Cape to evolve and adapt with the changing business environment, to ensure the growth and success of the export industry in the province.

A celebration of endurance at Exporters Eastern Cape AGM

A celebration of endurance at Exporters Eastern Cape AGM

Exporters Eastern Cape hosted the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in person on Thursday, 21 July 2022 at Standard Bank in Gqeberha.

Aptly themed “Resilience”, it was a joyous occasion for many exporters to meet again in person and share their post-pandemic experiences at the 42nd AGM, following two years of attending the AGM online.

Exporters Eastern Cape is a non-profit organisation focussed on growing the Eastern Cape export market by representing export companies, freight forwarders, financial institutions and shipping lines.

Despite the challenges experienced due to the global pandemic, Exporters Eastern Cape had a productive year of hosting over 15 online and in-person events, as well as facilitating regular meetings of the Export and Collaboration Forums.

Eastern Cape Exporters Chairman Quintin Levey said both forums met quarterly to collaborate on industry challenges and wins as well as public/private partnerships, respectively.

“We want to encourage our members to participate in our events and forums, to add to the value proposition of Exporters Eastern Cape. Thank you to you, our members, for your continued support during the past year,” said Levey.

Standard Bank Head of Eastern Cape Client Coverage and Business Clients, Leigh-Anne de Witt, said her team at Standard Bank, also the main sponsor of this year’s Annual General Meeting, aptly adopted the word “Nyamezela” as their word to live by in 2022.

“Roughly translated the word means the spirit of never giving up and having perseverance and it fits in very well with this evening’s theme of resilience,” said De Witt.

The epitome of resilience was the guest speaker for the evening, Bruce Fordyce, legendary South African marathon and ultramarathon athlete who is best known for having won the Comrades Marathon a record nine times.

While Fordyce said endurance does start in the mind, it is not something to achieve on your own – in sport and in business. “You simply cannot do it on your own – you need a great team to support you. You have got to run with people,” said Fordyce.

He continued to explain how his support team was instrumental in helping him win the Comrades, since they supplied him with important information and encouragement. “Endurance is given to you by the people, your team. That’s the barrier breaker… when your team tells you that you’ve got it,” said Fordyce.

An inspirational speaker, Fordyce encouraged members of Exporters Eastern Cape to continue leading bravely in whatever place they find themselves: “The wind blows coldest in the front; you need to demonstrate resilience and endurance as a leader in the front….”

“And one thing you need to understand about endurance is that there is no finish line for winners,” Fordyce concluded.

For more information on Exporters Eastern Cape and member benefits contact the Branch Manager, Suzanne Loubser at info@exportersec.co.za.


New Exporters Eastern Cape committee members elected during the AGM were:

  • Celestin Ndhlovu (Isuzu Motors South Africa)
  • Sujit Bhagattjee (Transnet National Ports Authority)
  • Selwyn Willis (Community Chest)


The full 2022/2023 Committee for Exporters Eastern Cape are:

  • Quintin Levey (KPMG)
  • Deon Joubert (SJM Flex SA)
  • Pravika Chetty (Lumotech)
  • Andre Swartbooi (Acoustex Group)
  • Selwyn Willis (Community Chest)
  • Brenden Adriaanzen (DG Incentives)
  • Greg Billson (Enterprise Development Consultants)
  • Celestin Ndhlovu (Isuzu Motors South Africa)
  • Oyama Sidlabane (Lizwe Fuels)
  • Loudeaux Minnie (LX Events)
  • Lee-Anne Vasi (Nelson Mandela University Business School)
  • Siphokazi Ngombane (NMB Municipality)
  • Neil Barker (Oracle Media)
  • Sujit Bhagattjee (Transnet National Ports Authority)
  • Ronel Marais (Volkswagen Group South Africa)


Caption: The Exporters Eastern Cape Committee for 2022/23 are from left Selwyn Willis (Community Chest), Celestin Ndhlovu (Isuzu Motors South Africa), Ronel Marais (Volkswagen Group South Africa), Andre Swartbooi (Acoustex Group), Lee-Anne Vasi (Nelson Mandela University Business School), Suzanne Loubser (Exporters Eastern Cape), Pravika Chetty (Lumotech), Neil Barker (Oracle Media), Quintin Levey (KPMG), Sujit Bhagattjee (Transnet National Ports Authority) and Loudeaux Minnie (LX Events).

Committee members not present at the time of taking the photo are Deon Joubert (SJM Flex SA), Brenden Adriaanzen (DG Incentives), Greg Billson (Enterprise Development Consultants), Oyama Sidlabane (Lizwe Fuels) and Siphokazi Ngombane (NMB Municipality).

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE AGM, VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: Exporters Eastern Cape – Port Elizabeth | Facebook

Nelson Mandela Bay – Economic Bulletin (July/August 2022)

Nelson Mandela Bay – Economic Bulletin (July/August 2022)

Nelson Mandela Bay – Economic Bulletin

***July/August 2022 Update***

 The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Directorate recently published an updated Economic Bulletin reporting on the state of the metro’s economy.

As per the published report, it was expected at the time of writing that the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay will grow by 1.3% this year, following a decline of -7.8% year-on year in 2020 and a 6% y-on-y gain in 2021.

In terms of the post-pandemic recovery, NMB’s real GDP in 2021 improved to 97% of the metropole’s real GDP in 2018.

Looking at the labour market, jobs figures released for the first quarter of 2022 indicate that the number of employed persons in Nelson Mandela Bay has increased by almost 22,000 over the previous four quarters. This saw the unemployment rate improve to 36.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

In terms of specific industrial and commercial conditions in the city-region, the number of newly manufactured vehicles shipped from the Port of Port Elizabeth in Gqeberha improved significantly, on average, over the last four reported months compared to the average for the preceding 24 months.

At Nelson Mandela Bay’s two commercial seaports, container traffic has normalised – following last year’s explosive protests in Kwazulu-Natal which disrupted national traffic – and is now averaging at 16.7% of national volume over the past ten months (i.e post-July 2021).

In addition, passenger traffic at Nelson Mandela Bay’s Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport (PLZ) has recovered to 52% of its pre-COVID throughput for the year ending March 2022; 4 percentage points above the national average.

In the property and construction sector, the value of building plans passed in Nelson Mandela Bay in the first five months of 2022 has increased by 3% when compared to the corresponding five months of 2021.

(*Please note that subsequent the published Economic Bulletin, the South African Reserve Bank released a revised growth forecast for the national economy; expecting GDP to grow by 2% in 2022, (revised upwards from the 1.7% expected at the time of the Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting in May). This forecast also takes into account an economic contraction expected for 2022Q2. Furthermore, SARB’s GDP growth projections were also reduced to 1.3% in 2023 and 1.5% in 2024.)