SOUTH Africa’s Premier for Gauteng Province, Mr. David Makhura, will lead a high powered delegation of business executives to Zambia to explore ways in which the two countries can develop more balanced trade relations.
Mr. Makhura has said that Zambia was South Africa’s important partner politically as well as in terms of business and that the country should be supported in areas that it lacked capacity.
“It is not enough to have relations at top national leadership level and that is why it is important to forge links at lower ranks because that is where real relationships occur. We realise that a lot of our companies have invested in Zambia and that trade is not properly balanced. This is why we are saying that we should not just keep taking what we produce to those countries we trade with. We need to help them to develop capacity so that they can also produce,” Mr. Makhura said.
He cited agriculture as one of the sectors that could be exploited in addressing the trade imbalance. He said there was need for South African entrepreneurs to build industrial capacity in Zambia pointing out that this would show that South Africa was after genuine investment in Zambia.
Mr. Makhura proposed to work with the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria to organise a business forum in South Africa through the Zambia-South Africa Business Council (ZSABC) after which he would like to lead a delegation to Lusaka to stage a similar event.
So please help us industrialise; help us to develop our capacity to can our tomatoes, our mangoes and other fruits,” Mr. Mwamba said.
“Zambia is very important to South Africa, politically and businesswise. You are our biggest trading partner in the region. When something goes wrong in South Africa, Zambia feels it. So it is important that we forge stronger and mutually beneficial links at all levels,” Mr. Makhura said.
He was speaking yesterday at a breakfast meeting with Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba and First Secretary for Tourism, Mrs. Patricia Muyamwa at his office in Johannesburg.
And Mr. Mwamba has welcomed the Premier’s eagerness to help address the trade imbalance saying the current situation disadvantaged Zambians as they lost out on business opportunities to big South African entrepreneurs.
Mr. Mwamba observed that Gauteng was one of the largest economies in Africa and urged Mr. Makhura to influence corporate organisations operating in the province to move into Zambia and help with the industrialisation process.
“When your companies import into Zambia everything they need from South Africa, it means that our people are robbed of their business opportunities. So please help us industrialise; help us to develop our capacity to can our tomatoes, our mangoes and other fruits,” Mr. Mwamba said.
He said Zambia had some of the best investment climate which allowed quick incorporation of businesses, freedom to externalise profits, among other incentives.
Mr. Mwamba said the proposed ZSABC business fora were an important platform from which partnerships could be forged while others could be strengthened.
The two tentatively agreed to hold the first forum in South Africa around March, 2017 and then the second one in Zambia would follow soon after.
The High Commissioner pointed out that relations between the two countries date back to the liberation struggle era when Zambia hosted South African freedom fighters and the headquarters of the African National Congress.
Gauteng is the economic power-house of South Africa and the broader Southern African Development Community (SADC). The province, which houses the spiraling cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, among other important municipalities, generates 43 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
South Africa’s administrative system mandates that provincial authorities are ‘distinctive’ and therefore wield legislative and executive authority of their own. The country, nonetheless, ensures collaborative governance by allowing the different wings of government to interrelate.