AFRICANGLOBE – A prominent South African government minister has called on the country’s businesses to re-ignite their attention to invest in African economies.
South African companies have been moving in droves to invest in the African continent in the past couple of years. But clearly the minister believes that more needs to be done.
Malusi Gigaba, the minister of public enterprises, said South Africa required to re-start its spotlight on African economies to develop its export destinations.
“We need to develop economic diplomacy to a greater degree than we have done until now. We [need] to forge both political and diplomatic partnerships with the African continent,” Gigaba told Sapa on the sidelines of a state-owned entities conference in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.
“This means that at the level of the South African private sector and public sector, you need greater trips around the African continent than to Europe and North America. We need to view Africa with a renewed business interest.”
Gigaba said the fact that the country’s mineral resources were exported to Europe, China and India has to be altered.
“In terms of manufactured goods in South Africa, we are exporting a great deal to Southern Africa, and we are looking for economic partnerships and opportunities with the rest of the African continent. Our trade balance with Africa is itself increasing,” he told Sapa.
The South African economy had been hurt during the global economic downturn simply due to its troubled major trading partners, U.S. and Europe.
However, experts believe that the U.S. economy is steadily strengthening, but the Eurozone debt crisis continues to grind on.
These weak economies have prompted the country to focus on trading with African economies which have been doing well in the past three years.
Nearly every South African company has an African strategy nowadays. This either involves making acquisitions in African economies or finding partners to do business with.
In the forefront of this move to do business in African economies is South Africa’s financial services companies and food and general retailers.
Countries that have been targeted include Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with an estimated 170 million people, Kenya, the biggest economy in East Africa and Angola, the oil-rich emerging economy in southern Africa.
By; Mzwandile Jacks