Cape Town - The Italian Embassy in South Africa held a two-day matchmaking event for Italian and South African stakeholders in the aerospace research, technology and industry sectors.
The event, which was held in Pretoria on December 4 and 5, was organised in collaboration with the South African National Aerospace Center, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, the Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Association of South Africa and the ICE Agency of Johannesburg.
The two days gave representatives of clusters and development agencies of five Italian regions (Lazio Innova and DTA for Lazio, DASS Sardinia, ANSER for Emilia-Romagna, DTA Puglia and the Foreign Center for the Internationalization of Piedmont) and research centers such as the Italian Space Agency and the National Institute of Astrophysics and universities and companies an opportunity to show potential South African partners the excellence of the Italian aerospace industry and its research. With 200 000 jobs along the entire value chain, a turnover of over 15 billion Euros and over 1.5 billion invested in research and development, the Italian aerospace sector is the seventh largest worldwide. The South African delegation - which comprised over 80 representatives of development agencies, research centres, trade associations and South African companies - were also able to make their Italian counterparts understand the potential of a relevant industry in South Africa that could benefit from collaborations with a partner like Italy.
The South African aerospace industry consists of 120 well established local companies and state-owned entities employing over 5 000 specialists, scientists, engineers, artisans and engineers, with an approximate turnover of R5 billion per annum. "We have put together our strengths and our competences to create opportunities in the interest of our two countries and their respective stakeholders: industrial associations, SMEs (small and medium enterprises), universities, research institutes, public authorities and policy makers," the Italian Ambassador Pietro Giovanni Donnici said at the opening of the event. The first day of the event was dedicated to a conference divided into four sessions.
The first session dealt with the topic of space technologies and projects, from satellite to space exploration to Earth observation. The second session was dedicated to aerospace industry clustering. Mega-aerospace projects were the theme of the third session, while the fourth was dedicated to advanced manufacturing and materials. During the second day, more than 80 head-to-head meetings were held between companies, agencies, universities and research centres, followed by two visits to South African industrial plants.