Successful Clusters Seminar in Port Elisabeth

The seminar illustrated clearly how the Norwegian clusters have ensured both growth and world-class expertise. Governments and industry players in South Africa expressed great satisfaction with the event that was a direct follow-up of the bilateral consultations in November 2015.

The seminar contributed to profile Norway's expertise in the area with the potential of opening up an important market for Norwegian actors in the maritime sector. At the same time, the seminar contributed to strengthen South Africa's efforts to develop a "blue economy" through Operation Phakisa and the government's expressed aim of establishing commercial / industrial clusters. South Africa has good universities and centers of expertise in the maritime sector, but the maritime clusters are so far poorly developed and have a great potential for improvement. From the Norwegian side, this was a pilot in the task of promoting industrial and economic development. There was broad participation from industry, academia and government actors from South Africa.

The Norwegian cluster model was thoroughly presented by key Norwegian representatives from private industry, clusters GCE Subsea and GCE Blue Maritime Cluster, Offshore Simulator Centre, the Norwegian Research Council (represented by RCN's Clusters Coordinator Åse Kaurin), Innovation Norway, and the University of Agder business school. The Norwegian participants were additionally required to build contacts and networks into the various parts of South African society.

The seminar was concluded with a tour of the harbor in Port Elizabeth. The port has great potential for further development and is a major center for the export of cars from South Africa. Plans for further development of the port includes technology development towards a "smart-port" (e-management of port functions and logistics systems). It also wants the port to be a "people's port" 'by active cooperation with the local community by providing jobs and training.

 

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