Steel industry key to economic development

DECEMBER 12, 2014

The steel industry is key to South Africa’s sustainable economic development, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina said on Thursday.

“… Steel products remain the most tradable commodities globally,” said the Deputy Minister.

He was speaking at the 77th Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Steel Committee conference hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in Cape Town.

In the last three decades, developing countries have been the key driver of steel supply and demand.

The Deputy Minister said the sector was a significant job creator and foreign exchange earner.

“The global primary steel industry provides about two million direct jobs. It is an undisputed fact that a country that processes semi-refined minerals or goods and converts them into complete, value-added products cost efficiently will consistently grow its economy,” said the Deputy Minister.

“While South Africa remains the third largest exporter of iron ore globally and the largest primary steel producer on the continent, the downstream segment of the steel industry holds enormous potential for investments, deepening of manufacturing capabilities and job creation.”

Chairperson of the OECD Steel Committee, Risaburo Nezu, said South Africa was endowed with an abundance of raw materials to produce steel.

The Steel Committee comprises 27 OECD country members, four associates (Brazil, Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine), as well as seven participants, among them South Africa and Egypt. Other non-OECD countries participate per invitation. –