There is a huge untapped potential in the India – South Africa Partnership. This was stated by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India while addressing the India South Africa Business Forum which was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in cooperation with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Department of Trade and Industry, Republic of South Africa.
It was in this context that the Prime Minister called upon Industry on both sides to work proactively to strengthen bilateral economic relations. According to the Prime Minister, Indian investment in South Africa had already crossed the USD 10 billion mark and was growing further. Some sectors which he felt had great potential for Indian companies included IT and ITeS, Renewable energy, Gems and Jewelry and skill development among others.
He felt that South African companies could invest in sectors such as food and agriculture, mining, infrastructure development and Banking and insurance among others. He stated that the Government had undertaken a series of reforms to make ease of doing business in India easier. The Government had also launched several initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India which has helped make India an attractive market. He invited South African companies to invest in India. He also welcomed the proposal to simplify and reform South African business visa regime.
H E Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, Hon’ble President of South Africa recalled the holding of the first India-South Africa Business Summit in South Africa in April 2018 and the Invest in India Business Forum in November 2018 and invited the private sectors to invest in key economic sectors of India and South Africa. He stated that more that 150 Indian companies were already operating in South Africa and employed more than 20,000 people.
He was of the view that the two countries could enhance cooperation in the field of the Oceans Economy, the energy sector- including renewable energy, oil and gas, mining, deep mining and mineral beneficiation, ICT, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and auto components, agriculture and fisheries among others.
He stated that South Africa was undertaking a series of reforms which would make doing business in South Africa easier. These included developing a new mining charter as well as a new energy plan. He invited Indian companies to invest in South Africa. He highlighted that Indian companies could use South Africa as a base to cater to the rest of the African continent thanks to the signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).
He also hoped to double the number of South African companies operating in India which numbered 29 at present to 58 in the near future.
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President, CII highlighted that there was a need to boost air connectivity between India and South Africa. He suggested that both Indian and South African airlines look at operating direct flights between the two countries.
Dr. Gantsho Mandla, Chairman, Sasol Limited called for the need to look at investment led trade to boost the bilateral trade relationship between India and South Africa.
January 25, 2019