26 September 2011
South Africa is open for business and is looking to explore opportunities with small and medium enterprises in the United States, President Jacob Zuma said at the SA-Houston Partnership business lunch in Texas on Friday.
Zuma said South Africa was open to foreign direct investment as a means to drive economic growth as well as to improve competitiveness and to increase access to foreign markets for its exports.
“With an improved business climate in Africa’s economies, we must explore opportunities for joint-venture partnerships between private sector entities on the continent and US private sector, particularly American SMMEs,” Zuma said.
Zuma said South Africa saw opportunity in the US’ National Export Initiative, one of its offerings being technical and financial support to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the US to enable them to access international markets.
“Partnerships at the level of emerging and small enterprises are the engine of economic growth in Africa,” Zuma said.
One the challenges faced by the African private sector was the size of African enterprises compared to global multinational companies, something which could be overcome by exploiting genuine opportunities.
“We are encouraging investments in Africa with good reason. Numerous studies have confirmed that the rate of return on investments and partnerships in Africa is higher than in any developing region,” Zuma said.
“This bodes well for US entities that are enterprising enough to look towards Africa for their own growth, not only through merchandise exports but through actual direct investment and physical presence in African countries.”
South Africa was also working towards a framework for extracting more value from its mineral products and on exporting higher-value added products to other countries, Zuma said.
At the same time, the President encouraged South African companies to explore opportunities in the US.