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Multi-million rand investment to advance manufacturing education and research

The Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) has received an R18m boost courtesy of Illovo Africa, Metair, TFG and vehicle manufacturer, Toyota SA Motors (TSAM). TWIMS, which as an academic partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), is South Africa's only manufacturing-focused business school and research institution.

The multi-year investment will fund the creation of four dedicated research chairs. Each chair will focus on a particular burning issue relating to the advancement of manufacturing on the continent.

“We hold that the only way for an economy to grow sustainably is through industrialisation. Unfortunately, South Africa has lagged the rest of the developing world in harnessing manufacturing for this purpose and it is even more pronounced for the rest of the continent. We thank the corporate sponsors for their generous investment, which will go a long way towards addressing this issue,” says TWIMS Chairman, Dr Johan van Zyl.

TWIMS has identified four key areas for further research. Each of the companies will fund one of these research ares:
  • African Trade and Industrialisation - sponsored by Illovo and to be headed up by Mbongeni Ndlovu
  • Green Manufacturing - sponsored by Metair and to be headed up by Liesel Kassier
  • Future Manufacturing - sponsored by TFG and to be headed up by Dr Kruschen Govender
  • Lean Management - sponsored by Toyota and to be headed up by Khavitha Singh
“Our research shows that South Africa’s manufacturing sector has developed sub-optimally over the last two decades. In the 20 years to 2018, South Africa’s average value addition per capita through manufacturing was only 0.5%, compared to 8% in Vietnam and 5.7% in India,” says Justin Barnes, Executive Director of TWIMS and an Associate Professor at GIBS.

“These numbers do not reflect the immense capacity for economic growth that lies dormant in South Africa and Africa. We urgently need to develop a passion for and commitment to manufacturing in order to unlock our economic growth and benefit from the rapid change in technology that we currently see around the world.”
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