Two groups of South African businesspeople representing 27 companies will depart for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this weekend in search of export markets for their products. A business delegation comprising sixteen agro-processing firms will  showcase products in the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, while eleven  companies that operate in the defence sector will participate in the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) that will take place in Abu Dhabi. Both international exhibitions take place from 20-24 February 2023.

The companies’ participation has been made possible by the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic) that will set up national pavilions at the two trade shows where the South African companies will exhibit their products.

Gulfood is regarded as the largest food and beverage trade exhibition in the Middle East. It attracts a large number of participants from the Middle East and the world at large. IDEX is the only international trade show in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region showcasing the latest technologies in land, sea and air sectors of defence.

The Chief Executive Officer of the South African Aerospace Maritime Defence Export Council (SAAMDEC), Mr Sandile Ndlovu is confident that the South African companies will stand out from the rest of the exhibitors at IDEX.

“I am confident that the South African companies will attract quite a significant amount of attention as the country enjoys a good reputation internationally as a manufacturer of high quality and advanced aerospace and defence products. The Middle East is our biggest export region and there is always an interest in SA-produced products from that part of the world. We are also renowned for being competitive in terms of prices because we manufacture in rands and trade in dollars,” says Ndlovu.

The General Manager of the South African Fruit and Vegetables Canners Export Council (SAFVEC), Ms Jill Atwood-Palm says Dubai is a promising trade hub for re-exporting into the rest of the Gulf region and beyond.

“We will be using our participation in the Gulfood as an platform to attract new business leads, benchmark the industry against global competitors, garner market research and information, gain insight into new and developing product innovations and more importantly increase our footprint in the consumer, hospitality and industrial sectors,” says Atwood-Palm.

The Sales Manager of Zebra Armour, a Durban-based KwaZulu-Natal company, Ms Ana Warburg, says she is confident that the trip will be beneficial to her company, which is determined to expand its footprint to countries in the Middle East and beyond. The company is already exporting its products, which include personal armour products, such as bulletproof vests, plates and helmets, to Europe, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and South America.

The Managing Director of Cape Town-based Jacobs Jam company, Mr Nigel Jacobs says the Middle East is a very good market for his company’s products. The company manufactures high quality jam products that are sold all over South Africa and Zambia.

The Middle East continues to experience a population growth, translating into increasing opportunities for the agro-processing sector, with a market demand of $3 trillion. The UAE remains the main destination for South African goods in the region, as reflected by the consistent increase of exports. Over the past 10 years, SA’s exports to the UAE grew from R8.6 billion in 2012 to R34 billion in 2021.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

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