30 August 2012
A strong South African business delegation attended the Botswana-South Africa business seminar in Gaborone on Wednesday as President Jacob Zuma began a two-day state visit geared to boosting trade and investment between the two countries.
Over 100 business people representing South Africa’s agri-processing, mining, construction, energy, ICT/telecoms, infrastructure and financial services sectors met with their Batswana counterparts at the Gaborone International Conference Centre.
The delegates were led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, together with other government departments and Brand South Africa.
“We are looking forward to visiting Botswana with a large delegation of business people who are keen to identify and pursue trade and investment opportunities that exist between the various sectors in our two countries,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said ahead of Wednesday’s seminar.
Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries, and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner.
South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services.
Zuma to push co-operation on infrastructure
Zuma’s state visit, following the successful state visit of President Ian Khama to South Africa in October 2010, was expected to focus on trade and investment, energy, transport, science and technology, environment and security issues.
It was also expected to emphasize the need to invest in infrastructure development, especially the need for the two countries to work together on large-scale projects such as cross-border infrastructure, industrial and energy developments.
“South Africa and Botswana enjoy very strong historical, economic, social, political and neighbourly relations, which were deepened during South Africa’s struggle for liberation,” the Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.
Agreements scheduled to be signed during Zuma’s visit include one that paves the way for a bi-national commission at a Presidential level, under which relations between the two countries will be structured going forward.
Zuma is being accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Transport Minister Ben Martins, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
SAinfo reporter and SANews.gov.za