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Forum 2018: Finance and Industrial Development

In partnership with the University of Johannesburg and the Industrial Development Corporation.
6 & 7 June 2018

The aim of the conference

The conference aims to deepen the understanding of the relationship between finance and industrial development, and of what financing is required for industrial development.

The context for the conference

Finance is an essential element for economic growth, yet despite South Africa having one of the best rated financial systems and a robust banking and financial sector, it remains an economy plagued by stagnant growth and pedestrian levels of investment. There have been significant critiques of the structure and behaviour of the financial sector, and of its lack of transformation in various respects.

The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) recognises the importance of finance for industrial development and the range of different financial measures for industry. The state contributes billions of rand in incentives each year to a range of industries and various support measures; the Industrial Development Corporation and other Development Finance Institutions fund in excess of R15 billion each year towards industrial finance, empowerment, infrastructure, land and housing; and several national and provincial small business finance institutions have been established to support SMEs.

In South Africa and the region, there is an urgent need to promote industrialisation and move towards greater levels of equality and a pro-employment development path. How can finance better support these imperatives? Developing strategic and coherent approaches, that maximise the impact of state resources and that leverage private sector and international development finance, requires further research and analysis.

Finance, either through bank or market financial instruments, is available to multi-national and large companies that want to invest but access to finance and its cost remain challenges for many firms. Greater understanding is needed of the challenges and trade-offs associated with financialisation, and of the impact of financialisation on financing for industrial development and jobs.

Furthermore, sustainability challenges in South Africa and in the Southern African region require significant financial resources to address the transition, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. There are also opportunities in financing of green industries that could potentially emerge in this transition.

The Forum will explore these and related issues, and bring together academics, policymakers, as well as organisations and practitioners involved in the various aspects of finance for industrial development.