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It is imperative to enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of South African foundries to increase local content and exports. Increased R&D levels are key requirements for competitiveness and the development of competencies. Access to knowledge and its successful use and implementation in innovative products, processes and services are increasingly important for sustainable economic growth and for securing and creating employment and income opportunities. In recognition of this imperative, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) established the NFTN.

The National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN) has a mandate to improve the competitiveness of the local foundry industry, especially distressed foundries.

The NFTN manages, coordinates and facilitates transformation and development of the casting industry sub-segment, particularly in the product supply-chains and at manufacturing level, through focused interventions, designed to enable local South African foundries to become globally competitive. Skills and supplier development are key areas of focus.

The NFTN was established in 2008 at the height of the global recession. It is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), and hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).