By  AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS

The Intra-Africa Trade Fair held in Cairo this week opens opportunities for African countries and businesses to make connections and establish trade ties. The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal is there to promote investment opportunities in the province.

CAIRO, DECEMBER 14, 2018: Investment opportunities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were placed firmly on the table at high-level panel discussion hosted in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday morning.

Speaking at the event, Ina Cronje, Chairperson of the Board of Trade and Investment KZN said: “We’re on the eastern seaboard on the Indian Ocean. Our coastline is close on 600 kilometres long, with two major harbours, or seaports. We also have a state of the art international airport, which is very good for cargo. Then we also have two strategic economic zones – one is placed at the Dube Trade Port and the one at the Richards Bay Harbour. And there are great incentive, tax breaks, for investors who are interested in going there.”

Bringing together South African and International business people alongside the Intra-Africa Trade Fair held in Cairo, the breakfast aimed to highlight the variety of investment and tourism opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal.

CNBC Africa anchor Godfrey Mutizwa moderated the discussion with panellists Treasure T. Maphanga, Director of the Department of Trade and Industry for the African Union Commission; Humphrey Nwugo, the Regional Chief Operating Officer Southern Africa for Afreximbank; Vusi Mavimbela, the South African Ambassador to Egypt; Zanele Sanni, Chief Director of Trade Invest Africa; and Ina Cronje, Chairperson of the Board of Trade and Investment KZN.

Investment opportunities in KZN can be found in the following sectors: Tourism and Property Development. Logistics Services, Medical and Pharmaceutical Production and Distribution, Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly, Aerospace and Aviation-linked manufacturing and related services,Agriculture and agro-processing, Aluminium conversion and fabricated products,Automotive Parts and Components, Film, Media and Entertainment, and Metals Beneficiation.

The province also boasts a large labour pool, diverse cultures, the ideal position to be the trade gateway to Africa, highly competitive land and building costs, world-class transport and tele-communications infrastructure, advocacy and lobbying for investor incentives; and an idyllic climate and lifestyle.

There is also the vibrant ICT sector with techno parks and innovation hubs, and opportunities in manufacturing, renewable and clean energy, medical tourism and healthcare.

Placing KwaZulu-Natal within the framework of the South Africa economic landscape, Zanele Sanni, Chief Director of Trade Invest Africa, commented: “Along the side-line of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair, what we would do as national government is to provide support to would-be investors from Egypt who would be interested in coming to KZN.”

“We have incentives along the competitive cluster that would help investors to locate there, but additionally when the investor is then located in South Africa, where we have, on the continent, the largest number of multi-national corporations, we also have a mandate of helping South African and African traders to then broaden their goods into the rest of the continent. For instance, under the SADC Protocol we would then facilitate specific missions to go out into the specific regions and back the specific incentives that we provide,” added Sanni.

According to Treasure T. Maphanga, Director of the Department of Trade and Industry for the African Union Commission, the opportunities for linking the continent are greater now than ever before. “The journey has been long, but now we are at a very exciting point. From where we sit at the African Union,our leaders have committed and recommitted themselves to integrating the continent and I think the missing link is that we were doing so working primarily with the governments. The Agenda 2063 comes with the very fresh impetus that says this framework, this vision, is really a vision that has been taken up by everybody on the continent,” added Maphanga. “I’m very excited being here talking about KZN – the opportunities are there for the provincial levels, for the cities to connect, for the national governments to connect. But I think the locomotives who are going to do this is going to be the privatesector.”

The fact that Egyptian South African Trade is at relatively low levels is “an indictment to all of us. But there are real issues to overcome,” said Vusi Mavimbela, the South African Ambassador to Egypt. “One of them is the distance. Another is that for a longest of time the Egyptian investment has been concentrated in the Middle East. So the outlook of Egyptian business was to look more for investment from that side because it is easier, the language is the same, the culture is the same – there is also not a lot of investment coming from the rest of Africa into Egypt. So to overcome this, South African business must look at investing in Egypt and to encourage Egyptians to invesin South Africa.”

Long-standing traditional ties have been developed between South Africa– including KwaZulu-Natal – and its top trading partners and other important focus markets. South Africa is growing increasingly as a trading partner for the European Union, and is a full member of the World Trade Organisation.

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), it offers trade opportunities within Southern Africa.

“Trade between African countries doesn’t amount to 15% of total African trade. In Europe it’s up to about 60%. In the Americas it is about 40% or 50%,”commented Humphrey Nwugo, the Regional Chief Operating Officer Southern Africa for Afreximbank, adding that this imbalance had to be rectified. “Between Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, we export 70% of the global cocoa output. But then our contribution to the value chain is less than 2% globally. So what we’redoing in effect is we export jobs, we export opportunities to other countries.So why can’t we begin to process some of this within Africa and then develop value here?”

FOR INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN KWAZULU NATAL PLEASE VISIT http://www.tikzn.co.za/

ABOUT TRADE & INVESTMENT KWAZULU-NATAL (TIKZN)

TIKZN is a South African trade and inward investment promotion agency,established to promote the province of KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination and to facilitate trade by assisting local companies’ access international markets.

The organisation came into being following the national government’s decision to divest investment promotion to the provinces, rather than retaining it as a national function as had previously been the case. Internationally, the Department of Trade &Investment promotes the country as an investment destination, whereas Trade& Investment KwaZulu-Natal presents a seamless trade and inward investment promotion for, specifically, KwaZulu-Natal.

The agency is equipped with the professional expertise and experience as well as national and international networks geared to maintaining and growing KwaZulu-Natal’s competitive advantage as a premier investment destination and leader in export trade.