The MESA Africa Summit: a glimpse into the future of manufacturing and technology

November 2023 News

The MESA Africa 2023 Summit kick-off at the Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa in the Cradle of Humankind, Johannesburg was a resounding success, with presentations by an array of exceptional thought leaders, who highlighted the path forward for the manufacturing and technology industries. The occasion was made possible by the phenomenal support of sponsors, including Schneider Electric, Iriton, Pragma Global, 4Sight, MESA International, SAIMC, Montgomery Group, and Ki Leadership Institute.

Dr Ananth Seshan, board member of MESA International, flew in from Canada to share his insight into the transformation journey of small and medium manufacturers (SMMs) navigating smart manufacturing. His eloquent address underscored the importance of gaining buy-in from both management and employees, for successful smart manufacturing through industry-agnostic collaborations.

Seshan's groundbreaking hypothesis on the challenges in low-to-mid-income economies ignited discussion on a collaborative ‘strategic group for SMMs’. This proposal aims to unite economies, share insights, and collectively address funding, digital transformation, secure value chains and workforce development, in a call to reshape the smart manufacturing landscape for smaller enterprises.

Gerhard Greeff, divisional manager at Iritron, focused on ‘the impact of computer engineering as defined engineering work’, outlining the objectives of the Institute of Engineering Work (IoEW) to ensure accountability and regulate computer engineering activities.

Jaco Markwat's impactful talk on ‘don't get lost in the cloud; futureproof your architecture and operations’, shed light on Element 8's dedication to community and industry service. Focusing on collaborative learning, his address provided scalable, intuitive solutions for a data-driven future by tackling challenges in the evolution of data management.

Pekka Pihlajasaari, a digital transformation expert, explored the evolving landscape where machine learning transcends expert domains. He gave attendees insight into the dynamic intersection of machine learning with industry.

Charl Marais, digital transformation manager at Blue SP/4Sight, led a dynamic session on ‘pit-to-port value chain optimisation in the mining sector’,

advocating for efficiency and a unified approach to ensure sustainable success.

Dr Mike Ntokozo Sishi, information technology manager at Rand Refinery, shared his insight into the ‘digital transformation of industrial organisations’, offering a transformative approach for businesses to optimise their processes and enhance their performance.

Dr Arthie Moore-Robberts, CEO and director of Ki Leadership Institute, championed strategies to accelerate generational disruption in the manufacturing industry, emphasising digital transformation and proactive strategies for success.

Yanesh Naidoo, innovations director at Jendamark, challenged conventional thinking, asking ‘why MES has to be changed or rethought for discrete manufacturing’. He introduced a software-defined paradigm that fosters adaptability, upgradability, and connectivity.

The MESA Africa Summit is a forum for the convergence of visionary leadership and transformative solutions. The shared insights will help contribute to a future of innovation, resilience, and success for industries.

For more information contact Jane Collett, MESA Africa,,


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