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SA, India strengthen trade ties

Written by More Matshediso

International relations

President Jacob Zuma recently hosted the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for talks during the official visit to South Africa.

The Prime Minister’s visit was used to further boost cooperation on economic, political, social and international areas between the two countries.

To date, India is South Africa’s largest trade partner, with trade in 2015 being at almost R95 billion. Trade with India represented 4.9 percent of South African imports and 4.1 percent of exports last year.

Also, there are 82 Indian projects in South Africa, and a total capital expenditure of R62 billion between January 2003 and January 2016, were recorded from 60 companies. India’s leading sectors were software and IT services (17 projects) and financial services (14 projects). India’s investment in South Africa has created an estimated 10 660 jobs.

During the visit South African and Indian businesses signed several memoranda of understanding  in sectors such as mining and health, to name a few.

Addressing the media at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, President Zuma said South Africa also regards highly its cooperation with India in the field of skills development.

“A number of our youth study in India. We are keen to explore further opportunities for training opportunities in India as part of youth empowerment and development.

“We have agreed to expand and improve people-to-people contact through promoting tourism between the two countries,” he said.

Ocean economy

India and South Africa, President Zuma said, play an important role in shaping the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) into a vibrant organisation.

“We have identified the ocean economy as a major driver for sustainable economic growth and employment generation under South Africa’s Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy initiative,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi said India and South Africa have through centuries nurtured strong people-to-people ties.

He said in their joint discussions with President Zuma, they reviewed the full spectrum of their engagement, adding that Indian companies hold strong business interest in South Africa.

He said India had interest in enhancing investment in mining and minerals and pharmaceuticals, among other sectors, in South Africa.

“India is also ready to share its experiences and capacities for development of small and medium businesses in South Africa,” said Prime Minister Modi.

He said the two countries could also partner in the field of defence and security.  

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