Listed groups Illovo Africa, Metair, TFG and vehicle manufacturer, Toyota SA Motors (TSAM), together pledged an investment of R18 million in the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS). TWIMS, in an academic partnership with GIBS, is South Africa’s only manufacturing-focused business school and research institution.
The multi-year investment will fund the creation of four dedicated research chairs. Each chair will focus on a particular burning issue relating to the advancement of manufacturing on the continent.
“We hold that the only way for an economy to grow sustainably is through industrialisation. Unfortunately, South Africa has lagged the rest of the developing world in harnessing manufacturing for this purpose, and it is even more pronounced for the rest of the continent. We thank the corporate sponsors for their generous investment, which will go a long way towards addressing this issue,” says Dr. Johan van Zyl, TWIMS chairman.
TWIMS has identified four key areas for further research. They are African Trade and Industrialisation, Green Manufacturing, Future Manufacturing, and Lean Management. These areas will now be funded by Illovo Africa, Metair, TFG and TSAM, respectively.
“Our research shows that South Africa’s manufacturing sector has developed sub-optimally over the last two decades. In the 20 years to 2018, South Africa’s average value addition per capita through manufacturing was only 0.5%, compared to 8% in Vietnam and 5.7% in India,” says Justin Barnes, executive director of TWIMS and an associate professor at GIBS.
“These numbers do not reflect the immense capacity for economic growth that lies dormant in South Africa and Africa. We urgently need to develop a passion for and commitment to manufacturing to unlock our economic growth and benefit from the rapid change in technology that we currently see around the world.