File image: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - The Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Rob Davies will tomorrow launch an R1 billion smart factory in the Eastern Cape. 

The launch of the smart factory is part of the Black Industrialist scheme (BIS) which accelerates and promotes black-owned businesses by providing them with financial and non-financial support. According to Minister Davies, the department has since approved 102 Black Industrialists for financial support. 

Also, 48 countries were given market access support, 8 of which are located in the Eastern Cape. 

The factory set to launch, Yekani Manufacturing is a 100% black-owned ICT electronic and manufacturing company located in the East London Special Economic Zone (IDZ). 

At the launch, Yekani will showcase state of the art electronic manufacturing technology. There will also be huge emphasis placed on employment in the Eastern Cape. Minister Davies said that the BIS programme remains integral to rebuild in order to remove constraints and improve opportunity for black-owned companies in the economy. 

In October last year, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) said they will over the next three years provide more than R23 billion to fund black industrialists, with a special focus on youth, as they’ve been identified as having potential to steer Africa’s largest economy.

The remarks were made by IDC chief executive Geoffrey Qhena at the Black Business Council (BBC) summit on radical economic transformation, held in Johannesburg

He said of the R15.4bn approved by the corporation, R4.7bn was expected to benefit companies controlled by black industrialists, while women- and youth-owned enterprises were expected to benefit R3.3bn and more than R2bn respectively. Qhena pointed out that the IDC has been involved in transformation for more than two decades and that 54percent of their portfolio was “exposed” to broad-based black economic empowerment. “To date the IDC has the largest BEE book by value. Over the next three years we will provided more than R23bn to fund black industrialists. We will be focusing on youth, because those are the people who will be able to run the economy in the future,” said Qhena

READ MORE: IDC is holding R23bn in wait for black industrialists

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE