South Africa calls for more Indian investment | SupportBiz

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South Africa calls for more Indian investment

With an ambitious programme for development, South Africa plans to conduct road shows and business events in major Indian cities to attract investment in sectors as diverse as information technology, financial services and agro-processing.

"Both bilateral trade and investments can expand considerably," said South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

A stable, diverse economy, a large market and relatively strong consumer spending power makes South Africa an attractive market in the African context.

"India is our strategic partner, and we are keen to attract Indian investments," Davies told IANS, while hoping to raise two-way trade to over USD15 billion by 2014 from around USD11 billion now.

The trade minister spoke on President Jacob Zuma's announcement in February that South Africa will make massive investment in infrastructure to industrialise the country, generate skills and boost much-needed job creation. Zuma was recently in India for the BRICS Summit.

Davies said that India-South Africa ties were growing from strength to strength. "Our trade ties have expanded enormously in recent years. There is significant investment. The intra-BRICS cooperation strengthens this and adds value to our bilateral ties."

Miller Matola, CEO, Brand South Africa - the organisation set up to promote the country globally - said that bilateral trade between the two countries was set to exceed USD15 billion by 2014.

"There was a trade target of USD10 billion for 2011. We exceeded that. Now, we have set a new target of USD15 billion for 2014. I am hopeful we will exceed that also," Matola told IANS.

He said that Brand South Africa would run a campaign this year in various Indian cities. "We are seeking Indian investments - in ICT, agro-processing, bio-technology, renewable energy, financial services, mining and infrastructure."

Brand South Africa was set up in 2002 to help create a positive image for South Africa. Its main objective is marketing South Africa through the Brand South Africa campaign.

Indian companies have invested around USD3.8 billion in South Africa so far. Several big Indian multinationals like the Tatas, the Mahindra Group, Ashok Leyland and Cipla have significant business interests in the country.

South African firms are also expanding in India. Energy giant Sasol is exploring a multi-billion dollar plant in India. Matola said Brand South Africa would facilitate meetings between Indian and South African entrepreneurs to boost two-way investments.

He said South Africa has the highest competitiveness ranking in sub-Saharan Africa and is second only to China among BRICS countries. South Africa also ranks 50th in the World Economic Forum's competitiveness ranking.

In the Annual Global Competitiveness report, India ranks 56 out of the 142 economies.

"In the African continent, no country even comes near to us in terms of the quality of infrastructure, logistics and financial services," he said.

Matola also emphasised the need to diversify the trade basket. India mainly buys unprocessed goods and raw materials like coal, copper and manganese ores, solid fuels, briquettes and ferrous waste from South Africa.

It mainly exports petroleum products, heavy and light motor vehicles, auto parts and telecom equipment