Posted: February 26, 2015
The 6th Investment & Trade Initiative to Kolkata, India
High Commissioner H.E. France Morule
President of Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) tbc
Acting Deputy Director General of Trade and Investment South Africa, Mr Yunus Hoosen
Captains of Industry
Ladies and Gentlemen
At the outset allow me to express our sincere gratitude to the people of Kolkata, the City of Joy, for their warm hospitality and friendship accorded to us during this the sixth edition of the Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) to India. It is indeed heartening for me to visit the historical and beautiful city of Kolkata, the Capital of West Bengal. This is the city which made a young nun as Mother Teresa! It is also here where our Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela, visited in 1991 after his release from prison.
I have just completed the first leg of my visit to India where I spend two days of successful engagements in Hyderabad as part of the ITI.
Friends, South Africa is open for business – we have a good story to tell! Let me echo the words of President Zuma recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos:
“We offer an opportunity that no wise business person would want to miss. We have a stable democracy with checks and balances, we have good systems in place both politically and economically and we have various projects and programmes that are ready for investments and partnerships”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, India features as one of South Africa’s key trading partners in the world and a partner in multilateral organizations such as IBSA, G-20, NAMA-11, WTO and BRICS amongst others.
On the bilateral front, trade and investment trends have remained robust since the inception of diplomatic relations in 1993. Total trade between our two countries totaled R80.9 billion ($7.7 bn) in 2013 and has grown to a total of R90.3 billion ($8.6bn) in 2014 with South Africa mainly exporting gold, coal, iron and steel, inorganic chemicals and ores. Our imports from India, on the other hand, comprised mainly of petroleum products, motor vehicles and pharmaceutical products.
The composition of the export basket beckons me to emphasize that the key to unlocking our developmental ambitions will emanate from mutually beneficial trade. This would require our respective business communities to earnestly consider projects with a strong focus on beneficiation as opposed to merely commodity trading.
This being said, we should however not minimize the gains that have been made including the 70 Foreign Direct Investment projects that 52 Indian companies have committed to in SA between 2003 and June 2014. These projects represent a total investment of R34.5bn and an impressive total of 9184 jobs having been created. Conversely 15 SA companies have invested about R4bn in 18 projects in India during the same time through which 5577 jobs were created.
I am told that overall more than 150 Indian companies have a presence in SA which is very encouraging!
Allow me at this juncture Ladies and Gentlemen, to elaborate on our development ambitions as outlined in our economic policy blue prints namely the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path. The Department of Trade and Industry is leading the implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan and creating a manufacturing base in South Africa. A key intervention being our commitments on infrastructure development, wherein South Africa is on course to spend in excess of R4 trillion in the coming years, focusing on rail, roads, energy, water, sanitation and the communication sectors throughout the country. The plan also includes the building and refurbishment of universities, schools and hospitals. Investment in infrastructure is important to enhance economic development, intra – BRICS Trade, regional integration and poverty alleviation.
Another exciting initiative is the unlocking of the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans. SA is uniquely bordered by the ocean on three sides – east, south and west with a coastline of approximately 3 924 km long. This vast ocean space is relatively unexplored in terms of its economic potential. In 2010, the ocean contributed about R54 bn to SA’s GDP and accounted for about 316 000 jobs. Analysis has shown that the ocean has the potential to contribute some R177 bn to SA’s GDP and as many as one million direct jobs.
Four priority sectors have been selected as new growth areas in the ocean economy with the objective of growing them and deriving value for the country. These are:
Captains of Industry, these programmes present you with opportunities to participate in the growth of South Africa!
But not only that of South Africa but also that of Africa!
In this regard, it is important to emphasise that the bedrock of our new growth on the African Continent will come from infrastructure development. Therefore, I implore you to collaborate with us in realizing the deliverables of this programme, in particular, the North-South corridor with particular emphasis on road and rail infrastructure. South Africa will provide the prerequisites of the projects including pre-feasibility analysis, project origination and financing. Our State Owned Entities such as the Industrial Development Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Public Investment Corporation and Transnet are ready to lead the implementation thereof.
Distinguished Guests, in the midst of the global recovery, stronger South-South trade remains a critical axis in responding to the gloomy outlook in the global environment. South Africa and India share a common vision in this regard. Like South Africa, India has to address a trinity of challenges including Inequality, Poverty and Unemployment. I am of the firm view that it is through initiatives of this nature that we will be able to address the challenges of increasing the creation of decent, sustainable jobs, advance the fight against poverty and accelerate the economic transformation within our respective countries.
I therefore urge you to optimally utilize this platform today to give voice to key issues in the Infrastructure, Agro-processing, Mining and Minerals Beneficiation, Renewable Energy, Electro-Technical and Cosmetics sectors represented in the 30 member strong business delegation from South Africa. I implore you, Distinguished Guests to become more proactive in guiding and partnering in dismantling barriers to trade and investment which will ultimately emancipate our nations and free us from common developmental challenges.
Distinguished Guests, as emerging economies become more integrated and interdependent, they increasingly shape the global economy and influence its dynamics. Captains of Industry, the onus lies with you to make a concerted effort in emancipating our people from the clutches of poverty and providing the voiceless with a voice. In this stead, I call upon you, our friends, to partner with us as we jointly tackle these challenges and identify synergistic solutions which I believe to be within our reach.
I assure you of our commitment as Government in creating a conducive environment to enable you, the Captains of Industry, to yield the desired outcomes as they relate to the aforementioned priorities.
India and South Africa are good friends. However we must not take the friendship for granted. We must work hard to further enhance the relations between our two countries!
I wish you the best during your B2B meetings this afternoon. Later tonight I will be hosting a gala dinner and will be looking forward to hear good news on deals!
In conclusion, I wish this Investment and Trade Initiative every success and reiterate my support for this very important initiative which I believe will indeed catapult our relations to greater heights reinforcing our rightful place amongst the developed nations of this world.