PRETORIA, South Africa
South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Bulelani Magwanishe has urged South African and Tunisian businesspeople to work together in order to increase trade and investment between the two countries.
He was speaking at the South Africa-Tunisia Business Seminar that was hosted by the South African government in Tunis as part of the Outward Trade and Investment Mission organised by the dti.
The mission is funded through the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme.
Magwanishe noted:“The purpose of this mission is to facilitate interaction between South African and Tunisian companies with a view of establishing mutually beneficial commercial relations. At the heart of this lies the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, which are currently disconcertingly low. Our economic relations are characterised by a trade deficit. Trade between South Africa and Tunisia remains low despite growing from R431 million in 2011 to more than R500m in 2017,”
He then challenged the businesspeople from South Africa and Tunisia to take advantage of the historically strong and cordial political relations between the two countries to collaborate and partner to increase the levels and volumes of bilateral trade and investments.
“This mission serves as an opportunity to strengthen trade relations. The pursuit of the above underscores our commitment to build dynamic economic relations. We hope that this mission will provide South African companies with a platform to introduce their products into the Tunisian market, and to also serve as a gateway to North Africa.” He said. “It is also an opportunity for the Tunisians to introduce their products and services to the South African companies and share ideas on investment opportunities that they can jointly take advantage of in South Africa. Additionally, the mission combines our efforts towards job creation, alleviating poverty and eradicating inequality,”
Magwanishe added that the mission was also aimed at advancing South Africa’s objectives of intra-Africa trade and regional integration in the continent.
”As South Africa, we remain resolute in fostering closer trade and investment ties with other countries in the continent to yield mutually beneficial economic outcomes. South Africa has always insisted on building developmental and mutually beneficial partnerships with the rest of Africa. We equally appreciate that sustainable growth and development can only be achieved through dynamic partnerships with the private sector. For instance, extensive collaboration between the public and the private sectors can yield infrastructure that is critical for the ease of business,” he noted
In his address, he reminded the two governments that the private sector was equally pivotal in strengthening the manufacturing sector and producing an industrial economy.
“This is a clarion call for both South Africa and Tunisia to forge ahead and strengthen our economic ties. Therefore, the historical bonds that tie us must translate into tangible economic outcomes. Our bilateral relations will have deeper significance when we grow closer trading relations and build confidence to trade with each other,” concluded Magwanishe