This is according to Mzwandile Masina, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, speaking at the 77th Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Steel Committee conference hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the DTI) in Cape Town.
Masina noted that 70 per cent of the currently global steel production is from the non-OECD member countries. In the last three decades, developing countries have been the key driver of steel supply and demand.
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He added that the steel industry is also a significant job creator and foreign exchange earner.
“The global primary steel industry provides about two million direct jobs and about 50 million inclusive of jobs created downstream. It is an undisputed fact that a country that processes semi-refined minerals or goods and converts them into complete, value-added products cost efficiently will consistently grow its economy,” said Masina.
“While South Africa remains the third largest exporter of iron ore globally and the largest primary steel producer on the continent, the downstream segment of the steel industry holds enormous potential for investments, deepening of manufacturing capabilities and job creation.”
The planned public infrastructure programme is also set to create a demand stimulus for the steel industry both upstream and downstream.
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The chairman of the OECD Steel Committee, Risaburo Nezu said South Africa was endowed with an abundance of raw materials to produce steel.