Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies Picture: Itumeleng English/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies believes that every effort must be made to boost local manufacturing, create black industrialists and make the country advance technologically so that it can benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Speaking at the Progressive Business Forum breakfast yesterday, he said South Africa should be prepared for the challenges that would be posed by the new digital revolution as electronic commerce continued to shape the modern world.

Davies said South Africa needed substantial change in the composition of its economy, which would only come through diversifying, industrialising and moving up the value chain as a response to calls for radical economic transformation.

“South Africa needs to adapt to changes moving up the industrialisation ladder. Our efforts to industrialise are going have to take place outside our border.

"South Africa as a country can learn a lot from other countries such as China in terms of stimulating the technological business sector,” the minister said.

“We are integrated into the world economy as producers and exporters of primary commodities, minerals or agricultural unprocessed primary commodities, and we are importers of finished goods and services from around the world, and that is the least lucrative place to be.

"As technology changes, the proportion of the value of the final product that is constituted by the raw material in it is a diminishing proportion," Davies pointed out.