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Ecco Chamber

Fortnightly Italian news made in South Africa

 II edition March 2024


What Can We Make?

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16 May 


18 May 



Chamber's Note

What Can We Make?

South Africa is well known for the resilience of its small economy. The country’s unique and leading position on the continent and its economy being diversified in multiple sectors means that it is not as vulnerable as some might think.

Pockets of excellence exist, including in mining machinery, aerospace, automobiles and agri-processing. In recent weeks, mining, especially gold, has experienced strong tailwinds, with gold at its highest ever price.

In December, retail performed better than expected, defying market expectations by growing by 2.7% year on year. Even South Africa’s unemployment rate and youth unemployment rate have decreased consistently over the last two years, with wages rising too.

In terms of trade, South Africa imports and exports with a diverse array of countries around the world, without an over-reliance on a single economic partner. Furthermore, tourist flows into South Africa announced a recovery into South Africa, albeit not yet at pre-pandemic levels.  

These are positive facts that nevertheless are only true when taken within a context of major difficulty. First and foremost, electricity production is shockingly at a lower point than in 2007. Any gains are invariably only incremental; however improvement is to be celebrated and guarded with the right actions repeated.

At a recent trade show attended by ItalCham in the renewables sector, the power of China as the workshop of the world was fully on display. The future of solar power generation, electrical inverters and battery storage is being driven by the rising superpower of the east. China’s bad reputation as a cheap imitator of technology is rapidly disappearing as they lead the way in terms of production, research and development in this sector.

In the same way, South Africa needs to develop on its reputation for excellence and capitalise on its existing niches of excellence. A key sector in South Africa, in terms of its outstanding effects on GDP (12%) and employment is that of manufacturing. Manufacturing is known for its unique role of creating upstream and downstream economies, as well as for its privileged position over primary sectors like agriculture and mining. However, over the last 16 years, this sector has shed more than 400-thousand jobs in South Africa.

On a positive note for manufacturing, Absa’s Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 51.7 in February 2024. This signalled a renewed expansion in South Africa's factory activity in February, the strongest since early 2023, after a steep contraction in the prior months. The uptick is another positive yet merely incremental change. Absa reported that respondents were more upbeat about exports, possibly signalling some alleviation of the congestion and disruptions at local harbours.

Manufacturing is a boring word for the miraculous process of making something out of nothing. The cities and things around us are all the products of ingenious human creativity. In other moments humans have shown themselves to be extremely destructive.

The result of South Africa’s elections will likely prove critical in terms of whether recent incremental improvements will be scrapped or capitalised on. Participants in the economy and the society at large must reflect on what they can do so that we may finally realise our creative potential and finally give a good go at seeing what we can make of all this.



The Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries has been organising the Business Excellence Awards annually since 1999 as a Charity Gala Dinner. In its 25th year, the BEAs 2024 will again provide recognition of the ongoing efforts and extraordinary achievements of the Italian Business Community. The ItalCham BEA 2024 will take place 


Date : 16 May

Venue: Sandton Hotel (JHB)

Time: 18:00 till midnight

This year the following categories will be awarded:


Business Person of the Year

Enterprise of the Year

Best SME from SMILE Network

Lifetime Achievement Award

Click here for table bookings and individual bookings: 

Giornata Della Ristorazione 2024  

"An initiative for Italian Restaurants abroad"

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Goal: to strengthen Italian catering and gastronomy around the world

Date : 16 May 2024
Who: Italian Restaurants abroad
Cost: FREE

After the great success of the 2023 edition, which earned recognition from the Italian President and global participation, the FIPE (Italian Federation Public Establishments) has once again announced the “Giornata della Ristorazione”, an important initiative aimed at enhancing the role of Italian catering and gastronomy globally.

This initiative offers the opportunity to celebrate Italian cuisine and to foster a feeling of community among Italian restaurants all over the world.  

High-quality and authentic Italian restaurants are invited to take part in it. 
Participation is free and will allow restaurants to appear in the list of establishments joining the event and in the Federation’s app. In addition, the restaurateurs may send a promotional video that FIPE will post on its social media. 

More information and a link for restaurants to register for free at:



 Supporting Businesses Around the World Initiative

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​On March 7th, an initiative called "Working together for the future: Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad supporting businesses around the world" was held at Sala della Regina in Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome. Representatives from the Chamber of Deputies and the Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCIEs') reference institutions participated in this event.

In recent years, the Chambers abroad have been focusing on new areas of internationalization, such as digital economy and sustainability, to address the needs of businesses in innovative ways.

The President of Assocamerestero, Mario Pozza spoke about the Chamber's role as a fundamental network for entrepreneurs interested in investing in Italy or expanding their businesses abroad.

There are 86 CCIEs in 63 countries, and they primarily assist businesses in agribusiness, fashion, mechanical engineering, construction, tourism, furniture and home systems, and energy.

What are the chambers doing?
•Fostering the growth of firms all around the world.
•Acting as ambassadors of Made in Italy
•Growing: +20% new members
• 160 thousand firms involved and assisting 50 thousand. 
•Providing Innovative solutions to answer the firms’ requests: internationalization, digital economy, and sustainability. 

The Chambers help both small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and large-medium ones. Italian companies that turn to the Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad are companies that are already present in foreign markets and small and medium-sized businesses based in Italy that have limited or no experience abroad.

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The Italian Chamber of Commerce (ItalCham) in partnership with Com.It.Es Johannesburg hosted an unforgettable evening of networking and cultural immersion at the SMILE Networking Event. This exclusive gathering took place on March 14, 2024, from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, set against the dynamic and spirited ambiance of The African Spirit Distillery in Boksburg.

SMILE, standing for Small to Medium Italian League of Enterprises, is an initiative led by Com.It.Es. in collaboration with Italcham. SMILE aims to bring together members of the Italian business community, fostering collaboration, growth, and mutual support. This initiative resulted in the creation of a business platform for Italian and Italian-South African professionals as well as for South African companies that have a connection with Italy or its citizens. 

Members of the SMILE community and their guests benefited from the event, enjoying increased visibility within the Italian business community in South Africa, access to a talented pool of Italians, information about job vacancies, and renewed opportunities for collaboration between Italian companies and the broader Italian-South African community.


The evening kicked off with a welcome drink, courtesy of The African Spirit Distillery, setting the tone for a night of meaningful connections and conversations. The sponsorship demonstrated the Distillery's dedication to supporting the business community and creating a platform for meaningful engagement. Further enhancing the Italian ambiance, ACROWs sponsored the wine while the buffet was provided by the authentically Italian restaurant Settebello, based at the Italian Sporting Club in Bedfordview.

Pamina Bohrer, the Chamber’s Secretary General, and Giorgio Dellavalle, the President of Com.It.Es., delivered compelling keynote speeches that highlighted SMILE's mission to fortify bonds and propel business growth within the dynamic Italian community. Following this, The African Spirit Distillery’s proprietors offered insightful overviews of the distillery’s storied heritage and operations, including an invitation for attendees to partake in a guided tour, enriching their understanding of the distillery's essence.

To be part of this exclusive network and to participate in future networking events, interested parties were encouraged to register for SMILE. The event not only served as a testament to the strength and vibrancy of the Italian business community in South Africa, but also highlighted the importance of such gatherings in fostering business relationships, cultural exchange, and collaborative growth.

For more information and to join the SMILE community, visit (, and take the first step towards connecting with a dynamic and supportive network of Italian businesses and professionals in South Africa.

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Multi-chamber Speed networking
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Last night, The Italian-South African Chamber of Commerce attended the Multi-Chamber Speed Networking Event on March 19, 2024, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. This annual event was organised by a coalition of esteemed Chambers of Commerce and proved to be a dynamic evening of business connections and opportunities.

This event, esteemed among members, provided participants with a unique platform to directly network and promote their businesses within a fast-paced, structured environment. The format facilitated interactions among attendees, allowing them five minutes each on a rotational basis, thereby fostering meaningful connections and potential collaborations.

Participants were allowed to meet approximately 12 new business contacts from diverse industries and backgrounds. Furthermore, they were able to exchange contact details with all other participants, augmenting their networking capabilities even further.

Participating Chambers of Commerce included:
South African Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (SAPCC)
Business Ireland South Africa (BISA)
British Chamber
EU Chamber of Commerce
Italian Chamber
Nordic SA Business Association
Spanish Chamber


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manufactured medical equipment through its MASmed brand, fostering strong relationships with distributors and partners, and ultimately contributing to the improvement of healthcare across the continent.

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To revolutionize healthcare in Africa by offering top-quality, produced medical equipment, fostering collaborations, and enhancing healthcare access and standards continent-wide.

Envisions a future where Africa's healthcare industry thrives with locally manufactured, high-quality
medical equipment, leading to improved healthcare outcomes and accessibility across the continent.

Aims to establish MASmed as a leading provider of cutting-edge, affordable medical equipment across Africa while
continuously expanding its network of distributors and partners to enhance healthcare accessibility and quality.


Contact Details:




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DAB Pumps specialises in:


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Contact Details: 




Job Board

There is one new job vacancy on the SMILE Job Portal:​


Executive Head Chef - Ciccio’s


You will find where to apply on the above link.

View this and other job vacancies on the SMILE website via this link - CLICK HERE

If you are currently hiring, please take a look at SMILE vetted candidates HERE




Alla prossima!

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