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Prime Minister Announces Partnership between WMG and South African Government

Originally Publsihed - 5 January 1999

The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP announced today in Johannesburg (Thursday 7th January 1999) the start of a new partnership between a British University and two South African Provincial Governments creating two new International Competitiveness Centres in South Africa's Northern Province, and KwaZulu-Natal.

The new International Competitiveness Centres are the result of Partnership Agreement’s between the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick and the Provincial Governments of Northern Province and KwaZulu Natal. They are the latest stage of an ongoing relationship between the Warwick Manufacturing Group and the South Africa Government under the umbrella of Project 2000. The Group is already helping to help boost managerial efficiency by training 2000 South African managers by the year 2000.

Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya (Head of the Warwick Manufacturing Group) in Johannesburg today said, "The new partnership agreements with business and government in South Africa will help enhance management skills in the battle for global competitiveness”.

Economic regeneration is a crucial issue for the new South Africa. It is vital that the key agents of economic development, the Provincial Governments, have a clear understanding of modern business practice, are able to work with the private sector and adopt private sector best practice where appropriate. The two new centres will assist the Provincial Governments to achieve those goals. Stella Sigcau, Minister of Public Enterprises said at the Centres' launch:- “South Africa needed to improve its management skills to improve its competitive edge”. Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki has also said that, “we are confident that with a partner like Professor Bhattacharyya, the developer of the unique integrated Manager Development Programmes at the University of Warwick the Programme will contribute significantly to our human resource capabilities”.

The Warwick Manufacturing Group has a reputation as a global centre of excellence in developing managers who can successfully handle the complexities of modern technology based business. The Group enjoys long terms relations with over 500 companies around the world and offers training, research and development and global best practice to all of them. This results in a programme which combines academic excellence with industrial relevance.

The Group also announced today a new Partnership Agreement with Eskom (South Africa's state electricity generation and transmission company - one of South Africa’s largest companies), to give its managers and future business leaders the skills set they need to manage the business in to the next century.

For further information please contact:-

Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya: Tel 024 76-523155
Nick Matthews, Tel: 024 76-572506

Further information about the above press release and all other media services at the University of Warwick can be obtained from:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer
Public Affairs Office
Senate House
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
West Midlands
Tel: 024 76 523708