Pretoria — Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe has urged South African and Gabonese businesspeople to give meaning to agreements concluded between the two countries, by increasing bilateral trade.
"Businesspeople from South Africa and Gabon need to work together to give meaning to agreements that we have signed. These are the Bilateral Trade Agreement and the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreement," said Thabethe at a business seminar held during the Gabonese leg of the department's Trade and Investment Mission on Tuesday.
The two governments had some critical issues to look into in order to make the environment conducive for businesspeople to trade between themselves and invest in the two countries.
Thabethe has identified the establishment of a Joint Trade Committee that will facilitate market access, and the Joint Business Council to facilitate easy engagements by the private sectors of both countries.
"We are hopeful that through this engagement, meaningful trade leads will be established and opportunities for investments opened up for access by South Africa.
"The increase in investment focus on Africa presents an opportunity for South Africa and Gabon to build sustainable economic relations," said the deputy minister.
South African Ambassador to Gabon, Thaninga Shope-Linney, said soon after being inaugurated as the first democratically elected President of South Africa, former President Nelson Mandela made his maiden visit to Gabon and since then, the two countries have enjoyed a cordial political partnership.
"It is from this partnership that the two countries should work on linking each other economically," said Shope-Linney.
The trade and investment mission started in Cameroon last week. The aim of the business mission is to deepen economic cooperation and stimulate trade and investment among the three countries, specifically within agriculture, mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, infrastructure and ICT.