The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a one-day policy advisory group seminar – funded by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) South Africa – at the Double Tree By Hilton Cape Town Hotel on 20 October 2017 on the theme “An Agenda for Civil Society: A Business Critique? Shaping South Africa’s Region-Building Role”.
The main aim of the meeting was to assess the challenges and opportunities for business and civil society in the agro-processing sector, in particular leather and leather products, in South Africa and the wider Southern and Eastern African regions, within the framework of South Africa’s region-building role. Towards that end, the day-long seminar sought, through a combination of panel-led discussion and breakaway-group sessions (see Agenda), to achieve five key objectives:
- First, to assess the problems and prospects of strengthening the role of business and civil society actors in shaping and achieving South Africa’s region-building and regional integration goals, especially those related to the promotion of value-driven industrialisation, economic diversification, and job creation;
- Second, to reflect on the major challenges facing the leather and leather products agro-processing sector, in particular, which are hindering growth and improvements in competitiveness;
- Third, to discuss concrete ways in which government policies and programmes can support businesses in the sector take fuller advantage of the potential benefits of greater regional integration;
- Fourth, to increase knowledge about implementation challenges, through exposure to diverse national and regional perspectives; and
- Fifth, to provide an impartial space for engagement between the invited stakeholders with a view to fostering greater cooperation and collaboration in the sector, strengthening business partnerships beyond South Africa into Southern and Eastern Africa, and promoting civil society ownership of regional integration.
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