The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, leaves for Zimbabwe on Sunday where she will be leading a delegation of about forty South African businesspeople to the fourth Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) taking place in Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe from Monday to Thursday (15-19 October 2012).
This ITI is part of the Department of Trade and Industry's Export and Investment Promotion Strategy that focuses on targeted high growth markets with the objective of creating investment and export opportunities for South African companies and promoting South Africa as a trade and investment destination.
The business delegation comprises of companies in various sectors including infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and mining capital equipment, as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) seeking to export South African value-added products and services or to establish joint venture partnerships with Zimbabwean companies.
The ITI’s programme of activities includes exhibitions in cities, sectoral round-table discussions, business-to-business meetings and site visits, providing opportunities to create market penetration for South African value-added products and services in Zimbabwe and joint venture partnerships between companies from both countries.
The South African delegation travels from Harare to Bulawayo by road on Wednesday and will have a pit stop in Kwekwe, where they will be hosted by the Midlands Chamber of Commerce for a short programme on possible investment opportunities in the region.
“The 3rd ITI to Zimbabwe which took place in March this year was a success. It confirmed that Zimbabwe continues to be an important export destination for South African value-added products. This is evident from the export sales amounting to R22 million recorded at the event by the South African companies who were part of the initiative. Export orders to the total value of R107 million were expected to be finalised within a year of the event. The South African businesspeople had an opportunity to discuss business matters, potential deals and partnerships with the 260 businesspeople from Zimbabwe who attended the business seminars and business-to-business meetings. A total number of 200 trade leads were obtained,” said Thabethe.
She added that the South African companies identified vast opportunities in the Zimbabwean market and this should translate into exports of South African products to Zimbabwe. Some companies indicated that they would be signing long-term contracts to supply their products in Zimbabwe.
The priority sectors in Zimbabwe as per the recently-launched industrial policy and which have investment opportunities for the South African companies include manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining, infrastructure, energy, tourism, social services, telecommunications and energy. Zimbabwe has identified 57 infrastructure growth node points across the country.
“The South African Government is committed to the Economic Development and Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP) of Zimbabwe and we are confident that the ITI will go a long way in enhancing economic cooperation with Zimbabwe,” said Thabethe.