President Cyril Ramaphosa will this week undertake a visit to four West African countries to build trade and investment relationships that benefit growth, development and employment in each country.
Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly column to the nation that as the country continues to combat the Covid-19 virus, its focus is also on a sustainable economic recovery.
“As part of our economic diplomacy efforts, we are giving renewed attention to promoting trade and investment with countries on our continent. That is why this week I will be undertaking visits to four West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal,” he said.
Ramaphosa will be accompanied by a delegation of business people representing sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, construction, consumer goods, renewable energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
“During my visits to Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal over the next week, we will look at how to leverage the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA [African Continental Free Trade Area] to expand the footprint of South African companies into the continent and how we can better support those businesses already operating in other African countries,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that the meeting will also look at how companies from those countries can find trade and investment opportunities in South Africa.
The State visit to Nigeria will coincide with the tenth Session of the country’s Bi-National Commission and will reflect on the progress made in advancing trade and investment between the two countries.
The focus will be on how to support business expansion and job creation in both countries.
Ramaphosa will be participating in an Economic Forum with South African and Ivorian business representatives, to discuss opportunities in existing and emerging sectors such as renewable energy.
“In Senegal, we will discuss how to facilitate greater trade and investment between our two countries. Currently there are South African companies operating in the energy and wildlife tourism sectors among others, and a number of South African companies have expressed interest in entering the infrastructure construction space,” he explained.
Ramaphosa said restoring and rebuilding the country’s respective economies is as important as the fight against the health effects of Covid-19.
“It is our hope that these upcoming visits will not only strengthen fraternal ties with our fellow countries on the continent, but that this will translate into new opportunities for South African businesses, new markets for our products and the creation of employment for our people,” he said.