Gordhan confident of SA, India trade ties

Pravin Gordhan
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Business leaders must not only look at transnational level, but also look at ways to close the gap between the rich and poor. South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan has challenged business leaders both from South Africa and India to take more bold steps in socio-economic ventures.

Gordhan says both India and South Africa must work together and focus on specific sector industries like mining automotive, pharmaceuticals and health care to double trade within the next few years.

He was speaking at the India- SA business Summit in Johannesburg.

The Minister says increased trade will ignite skills transfer, employment and transformation.

Trade between South Africa and India is currently standing at ten billion rands. Government says it wants to accelerate its business relationship with India in the next few years.

South Africa says wants to investments with Indian companies in mining opportunities, health care aviation, manufacturing, skills development and telecommunications.

Trade and Industry Minister Rod Davies says: “The emphasis that we have in black economic empowerment is to try and strengthen the capacity of black people to become entrepreneur’s in their own right – and skills is part of that , supply chain is part of that, as well and we are looking at our competition legislation to open up space to smaller black owned companies, and skills development is very much part of that.”

Meanwhile, India says it wants to outsource some of its manufacturing products, and is looking to work closely with South Africa on this.

“We don’t make each and every product of a finished good in one place, and a good example is Nike. Nike is an American company, but most of the manufacturing runs outside the country. Manufacturing is now going to be part of sublet value chain, and I’m hoping South Africa and India become part of this. Everything to made in India is not possible at all,” said Indian minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu.

Gauteng remains the most popular destination for many Indian companies which have brought more than 30 investment proposals in the province in the last two years.

Premier of Gauteng David Makhura has stressed the importance of Indian businesses especially for township economies

“If you look at the big businesses that are here, are obviously corporations. In my experience a lot of businesses that we attract in our country, some of those end up locating in those areas that are part of our townships… So how do opportunities arise? We have an automotive sector that is located in Tshwane, and then there we bring the small scale up to the medium sized small businesses. Certainly for every business that’s coming into Gauteng we look at the linkages and opportunities, supply chain opportunities for township based businesses.”

The South African government has put aside two billion Rands to develop start-ups in small medium enterprises. Minister of Small Business, Lindiwe Zulu, says they will work closely with the Indians to learn how to develop start-up businesses.

“Recently we traveled to the Global Entrepreneur congress – which India is also a part of the start-up nations. So you can already look into that, and realise that South Africa, India and other developing nations are looking at supporting start-ups. Our focus should support the SMME’s and I think this is high in the agenda of our relationships between South Africa and India.”

The summit has been marked by a memorandum of understanding that has been signed by Invest India and Invest SA. India also plans to establish training and innovation centres in South Africa. Both governments say they are also in discussions to introduce direct flights between the two countries to strengthen their trading partnerships.


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