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Zulu calls for transformation in procurement space

Mar 07 2017 16:16
Carin Smith

Cape Town - We need to see transformation in the procurement space in South Africa, Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu told delegates at the Smart Procurement World conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.

She however noted that there are some signs of change in the local procurement landscape.

Zulu pointed out that President Jacob Zuma has promised government will play a role in procurement transformation.

According to Zulu, research shows that there is procurement leakage in Africa to the value of $31bn. It is mostly due to the low use of technology and a lack of compliance, especially in the public sector.

"Furthermore, more than 80% of exports from African countries go to destinations beyond the continent. intra-Africa trade is only 10% of exports," said Zulu.

READ: Zuma: New procurement law will grow black business

A lack of infrastructure to reach markets was found to be the most important challenge for intra-Africa trade.

"Africa has integrated with the rest of the world faster than with itself," said Zulu. "Traditional markets in the US and Europe have now stagnated so this can create opportunities for local SMMEs."

For Zulu it is important to keep on asking what opportunities are there for SMMEs. In her view, the procurement of food aid potentially offers a big opportunity.

"Challenges for procurement include finding the right skills for a business and understanding African consumers," said Zulu.

In her view, what is needed is a conference where role players in procurement as well as suppliers can share ideas with policy makers.

"Development needs to go beyond just one country. We need buy-in from more African countries," she said.

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