President Jacob Zuma says intra-African investments are critical to Africa’s future economic growth and South Africa is ready to contribute meaningfully to increase the levels of investments while growing intra-Africa trade.
He was addressing the Zambia-South Africa Business Forum held in Lusaka in Zambia on Thursday. The business forum was themed, ‘Towards Increased Trade and Investment Cooperation’.
He said the South African government in 2016, through the Department of Trade and Industry (Dti), created Trade Invest Africa, which amongst others establishes sourcing linkages with African trading partners as its contribution to facilitating the imports of African value-added manufactured products into South Africa.
Trade Invest Africa facilitates investments by South African entities in the rest of Africa so as to increase the levels of intra-Africa trade.
Trade Invest Africa has also committed to partner with the Zambian government in hosting the “Invest in Zambia” Conference due to take place in South Africa next month.
Zambia is the second largest destination of South Africa’s direct investment in the world, after Nigeria. Available data indicates that between January 2003 and February 2016, a total of 49 South African Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were recorded.
President Zuma said these projects represent a total capital investment of R37 billion, creating more than 7 000 employment opportunities in mining, manufacturing, metals, financial services, communications, and food and tobacco industries.
“It is evident that the business interactions and exchanges between the two countries are bearing fruit and that the good relations that exist continue to be strengthened.
“I remain convinced that the commercial, investment and economic relations between South Africa and Zambia are at their best. However, they have not yet reached their peak,” said President Zuma.
He believes that the two countries have only scratched the surface of the diverse investment and trade opportunities, particularly in infrastructure and industrial development.
These opportunities beckon a focused and effective engagement, he said.
“We must collaborate as equal partners in the journey of market integration, infrastructure and industrial development for a prosperous Africa.”
The forum was attended by leaders from the private sector, the development finance institutions and key public enterprises, with a common goal of developing the economies of their respective countries and the African continent.
SA, Zambia open for business
President Zuma has reiterated that South Africa and Zambia are open for business. He said there are many opportunities and the business sectors on both sides must be creative and explore.
He invited the business sector to use the opportunity provided by the warm historical relations between the two countries to advance business activities in both countries.
“We should work tirelessly to promote economic advancement so that we can bid goodbye to poverty and unemployment. We have it within our power to make Africa a better place for all our peoples. Let us achieve greatness in Zambia and South Africa, and make our liberation heroes proud in both countries,” said the President.