South Africa’s ambassador to Tunisia Harold Hoyana reaffirmed the country’s commitment to building strong ties with Tunisia, at a business forum hosted on Monday in the North African country.
A business delegation of 22 companies was led by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The mission to North Africa will serve to promote South African products and service offerings, while creating partnerships between the business communities of the respective countries.
Hoyana pointed out that South Africa made a concerted effort to promote trade and stimulate investment between the two countries.
He pointed out that the initiative was important to develop mechanisms to move away from low levels of trade and investment, as shown by the recent trade figures, which put total trade at less than R500-million.
“The primary goal of the forum is to encourage business-to-business interactions, which will eventually result in tangible outcomes for both countries’ economies, and to find measures to stimulate and increase volumes of direct trade”, said Hoyana.
Formal trade structures
South Africa and Tunisia’s bilateral relations have produced agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in numerous areas, within the ambit of the Joint Bilateral Commission.
Both countries are also working towards establishing a Joint Trade and Investment Committee.
Hoyana said that one of the main outcomes was an MoU between the East London Industrial Development Zone, Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the Coega Industrial Development Zone with Tunisian counterpart, Zarzis Economic Activity Park. The negotiations of this agreement are ongoing and at an advanced stage.
Tunisian Investment Authority president Khalil Laabidi said Tunisia’s main focus was always to encourage exports, foreign direct investment and tourism.
He added that a more collaborative effort of this nature was needed from both countries.
At the conclusion of the first leg of the mission, the delegation will move to Algeria for the second leg of the mission, which is scheduled to end on Thursday.