4 October 2010
Speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Africa India Diaspora Conference in Durban on Saturday, South African President Jacob Zuma invited Indian companies to do more business with South Africa.
“South Africa is the gateway to the one billion-strong African market,” Zuma told delegates at the conference, held to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa, and to acknowledge the Indian community’s contribution to the fight against apartheid.
“Our trade and investment opportunities for the Indian business sector lie in environmental technologies, ICT, transport equipment, capital equipments, creative industries and financial services,” Zuma said.
Investment from India into South Africa is roughly R45-billion, while trade from South Africa to India is an estimated R21-billion. Bilateral trade is said to have surpassed R53.9-billion, and is expected to reach R70-billion by 2012.
Zuma noted the robustness with which both India and South Africa’s economies had weathered the recent financial crisis.
Developing countries on the rise: Gordhan
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, addressign a business session at Saturday’s conference, said South Africa and India should brace for more business activity as investors took note of the human capital and currencies of developing nations.
He urged the two countries to investigate the potential that existed for further investment and business opportunities.
Gordhan said the global economy was projected to grow by 4 to 6.7 percent in the next few years, and that developing countries like India, China and Brazil would be largely responsible for the growth.
However, he cautioned that fair trade conditions were needed in order to avoid a repeat of the recent global recession, adding that the right balance had to be struck between global and national interests.
The President said the political, social and economic ties between India and South Africa had grown from strength to strength, with much bonding the two countries, including their shared vision of peace, impartiality and prosperity.
“We also share a common approach on a number of global issues, including reform of the United Nations, the future of multilateralism, climate change and South-South Cooperation,” Zuma said.
He highlighted the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, prominent politician and medical doctor Monty Naicker, and political activist Dr Yusuf Dadoo for the crucial roles they played in helping to build a free South Africa.
Noting that both India and South Africa had large youthful populations, he urged both countries to invest in youth development, saying it was key to continued economic growth.