Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) annual summit to focus on value creation to respond to economic challenges

South Africa’s tough economic environment, promoting closer collaboration between businesses, intra-Africa trade and investment, digital innovation and cyber-crime top the list of topics to be discussed at the annual Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) Summit from 4-5 October 2017. The summit, an annual event, will be held at Vodaworld under the theme “Shared value creation, does it exist”.

Gareth Ackerman, co-chair of the CGCSA, says the main focus of the summit is to explore how the consumer goods sector can collaborate further to ensure business success growth in what is becoming a highly competitive and fragmented industry and challenging economic environment.

“We are holding the summit against the backdrop of a particularly challenging economic environment characterised by declining consumer and business confidence. Economic growth in South Africa is now expected to be under 0.5% compared with 0.3% in 2016. The summit therefore gives us a useful platform to share ideas and come up with solutions on how our businesses can survive and grow in such a tough climate,” says Ackerman.

The keynote address will be given by Kelvin Balogun, Business Unit President of Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa, whose topic will be: “In the context of multilateralism and recent downgrades, what do SA companies need to consider for growth, market access and raising funding”. Balogun has also just been appointed the second co-chair of the CGCSA.

Ackerman says the address by Balogun is relevant following the decision by Standards & Poor’s and Fitch to downgrade South Africa’s investment rating to “junk” status, and by Moody’s to one notch above “junk”.

Ackerman says the country is only now beginning to feel the impact of the downgrade and South African companies are bracing themselves for possible further economic downturn, which will impact on the ability to grow their businesses.

Balogun agrees, saying in such an environment, now more than ever before, it is important for companies in South Africa and those on the consumer goods sector in particular, to respond with agility to changing market and business climate.

Ackerman says members will also benefit from the planned plenary discussion, to be moderated by Lynette Chen, CEO of the Nepad Business Foundation, on “Mobility and Cross Border Cooperation”. Delegates and panelists will explore the benefits of encouraging and promoting free movement of goods, services, people and money across Africa. “This is the next growth opportunity which needs to be explored for business growth,” says Ackerman.

Other topics include cyber-security, digital innovation and disruption, legislation on food waste and how to incubate the relationship capitalisation between government, retailers and manufacturers.