MSME sector dominate the industrial landscape of India. MSMEs number about 44 million units and provides employment to some 80 million people. They also contribute 45% of manufacturing output and over 40% of India’s aggregate exports.
Government of India, via its public sector enterprise National Small Industries Corporation(under the Ministry of MSME) signed an MoU of Cooperation with Black Business Council (BBC) of South Africa for developing youth owned enterprises in South Africa today. The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to increase the India-South Africa cooperation via sharing knowledge and expertise, exchange of best practices, supporting innovation and building capacity and skills.
The Union Minister for MSME, Shri Kalraj Mishra mentioned that the MSME sector is maintaining a spectacular growth in the overall manufacturing output of the country. The MSMEs will play an important role in realizing the vision of “Make in India” i.e to make India a manufacturing hub with zero defect products and zero effect on environment policy.
Why South Africa?
Given the geostrategic position of both countries, it’s important that the economic ties are further nurtured to emerge stronger. South Africa as a member of SADC can be a good partner for Indian businesses. Its manufacturing and technical capabilities make it a good springboard for doing business in Africa. Similarly, India offers South African companies an excellent location for addressing the huge domestic Indian market as well as the wider Asian market.
Besides cooperation in MSME sector, BBC to economically empower the marginalized group in South Africa through NSIC’s Rapid Incubation Programme. BBC plans to establish five such Rapid Incubation Centres in South Africa in cooperation with NSIC.
What are the sectors being explored in the MoU?
The bilateral cooperation includes auto component industry, machine tools industry, leather and leather goods, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, fruit and food processing and textiles, among others. These are the industries where Indian companies especially SMEs have been performing well and have made their presence felt on the global marketplace.
Dedicated web portal to India-SA MSMEs
On this occasion, the minister also announced the launch of 'Build SMME', a comprehensive B2B portal dedicated to India-South African MSMEs by NSIC in order to fulfill the expectations of SMMEs of both countries (and Africa at large) in their exporting ventures as well as to source technologies and materials. This would cater mainly technology sourcing (Plant and equipment & ITC), raw material sourcing, intermediary product sourcing, finished goods sourcing, joint venture opportunities, trade leads, details of events & exhibitions, live tender leads and other business opportunities.
The future of businesses is e-businesses
Only a small fraction of MSMEs are aware of bilateral business opportunities and have the skill, risk appetite and resources to address these opportunities. There is a need to comprehensively build linkages among small enterprises across nations and interaction can go down to the next level. In today’s technologically connected and digitally linked world, this task has become easier. Mishra said,
E-commerce and online businesses are emerging in a major way and I would not be surprised if down the road, e-businesses became as important as brick and mortar enterprises.
While RSS is pushing for a ban in ecommerce in India, the government's agenda of promoting startups and MSMEs doesn't seem to get distorted with it. Whether it's Ministry of textiles signing MoU with Flipkart or increasing the limit of FDI in startups, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been supportive to the SMEs and startup ecosystem.