An Agenda for Civil Society: A Business Critique? Shaping South Africa’s Region-Building Role

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”.

Centre for Conflict Resolution policy advisory group participants

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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