The South African Competitiveness Forum ConceptBrand South Africa will host the inaugural South African Competitiveness Forum (SACF) on Tuesday, 5 November.The SACF is a strategic platform through which Brand South Africa intends to work with key government, business and civil society stakeholders to identify the country’s competitive and reputational strengths and challenges.1. Why host a South African Competitiveness Forum?Brand South Africa’s mandate calls on it to market the nation brand internationally. In the past decade, significant regional economic and geopolitical changes have brought uncertainty to the global economic outlook. Additionally, in the 21st century rapid changes to technology, for example, necessitate in-depth consideration of domestic and international factors that affect South Africa’s competitiveness and global reputation.To this end, the SACF invites contributions and delegates from a wide range of stakeholders and decision-makers to help to assess South Africa’s reputational and competitive advantages and challenges in a period of turbulent change in the world system.2. What am I as a delegate going to gain from the SACF?The SACF is a call to all stakeholders across business, the government and civil society to provide input and to inspire new ways of positioning the nation brand domestically and internationally.It is a one-of-a-kind, one-day, intensive knowledge-sharing, networking, and brand experience. As a stakeholder and contributor to the South African economy, government, or civil society your inputs regarding the reputational and competitive strengths and challenges South Africa faces will help Brand SA to understand strengths and identify weaknesses, in order to seek outcomes where stakeholders can address common challenges, or communicate on commonly identified nation brand strengths.3. What about the brand?In as much as the SACF aims to facilitate discussion on how improved competitiveness and a strong international reputation can help the country to achieve long term developmental, social, transformation and macro-economic objectives, on 5 November the venue – Gallagher Estate in Midrand – will be transformed into a gallery wherein 10 years of Brand South Africa creative and design work, as well as a display of artistic impressions of Vision 2030, will be shown under one roof.While Brand South Africa seeks your valued input into substantive issues to be addressed during two plenary and five breakaway working sessions, you will also be invited to experience the creative design work, audio visual, and other nation brand material created by Brand South Africa in its domestic and international communications and marketing projects and programmes.4. What is the call to action?The SACF aims to inspire delegates to become brand ambassadors and contribute positively to shaping a reputable and competitive nation brand that can make Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan a reality.Brand South Africa hopes that delegates, after participating in the SACF, will be inspired to encourage their colleagues to play their part in making South Africa competitive for inward investment.Furthermore, Brand South Africa views the SACF as an opportunity to develop new relationships across stakeholder groups to work with them in aligning with us to make all we as a country do, more visible and impactful internally and externally.5. But why create such a consultative platform?Next year, 2014, South Africa will celebrate 20 years of democracy. This democracy as we know it today is the result of many years of intense negotiations. The shaping of the country’s destiny therefore depends on the ability we, as South Africans, have to be open and receptive to diverse ideas, opinions, and positions.To achieve the national goals of poverty alleviation, job creation, and the long-term targets set by the National Development Plan, South Africans must be active participants in the shaping of that destiny. For this reason, the SACF is an invitation to South Africans to help shape the country’s future through focused contributions to strengthening the nation brand positioning both domestically and internationally.The forum is furthermore informed by, and aims to facilitate discussions on how improved competitiveness and a strong international reputation can assist the country to achieve long-term developmental, social, transformation and macro-economic objectives.6. What are the outcomes?The SACF is a one-of-a-kind forum where government, business, and civil society stakeholders can contribute directly to the identification of issues that require intervention in order to improve the country’s global competitiveness and reputation. It is therefore a platform not only for debate and deliberation, but the desired outcomes of the forum will be captured in specific panel discussion and breakaway working group session reports. Key envisaged outcomes are:Outcome 1: Forum working group and session reports with specific recommendations and implementable action steps to enhance competitiveness;Outcome 2: Ministerial debriefing and final analytical report presentation to Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation;Outcome 3: Initiate work and solicit input on the development of a South African unique competitiveness index.7. How is the programme structured?The main work of the SACF will take place in breakaway working sessions. These will focus on specific themes outlined below, and will be conducted in a workshop format. This will create an enabling environment for stakeholders to raise issues, voice opinions, and make direct contributions to shaping the South African competitiveness agenda. Each working group session will have a working group convenor who will facilitate the sessions. A report from each working session will be integrated into the larger SACF report to be presented to the Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.8. What are the breakaway working session themes?The theme descriptions below are merely intended as conversation starters. Brand South Africa will consult with stakeholders in the run-up to the forum to gather input into specific themes and issues to be added to the working session agendas.Please note that detailed background discussion documents capturing stakeholder consultation input from across South Africa will be shared with participants via this website.Breakaway 1: Education, Skills and LabourBreakaway 2: Manufacturing and Related ServicesBreakaway 3: Governance and LeadershipBreakaway 4: InfrastructureBreakaway 5: FDI Competitiveness9. Is this not another talk shop?No; the SACF, through intensive exchange in breakaway working sessions, will focus on actions stakeholders can take in partnership, to address challenges, and make more of reputational and competitive strengths in the country.10. Is it a once-off or annual event?On 5 November, Brand South Africa will host the inaugural competitiveness forum. Following on from this event, it will become a standing annual Brand South Africa platform.