10 October 2012

South Africa: Local, Gabonese Firms Eye Opportunities

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 doing more business with each other.

"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," Thabethe said at a business seminar held during the Gabonese leg of her department's latest trade and investment mission on Tuesday.

Last week, Thabethe and the business delegation accompanying her were in Cameroon.

Speaking ahead of the two-nation trip, Thabethe said the mission would "see us traverse both the Cameroonian and Gabonese economic landscape, presenting South African businesses with an opportunity to explore trade and investment opportunities that exist through off-site as well as on-site business-to-business meetings."

South African and Gabon had some critical issues to look into in order to make the environment more conducive for businesspeople to trade between themselves and invest in the two countries, the deputy minister said on Tuesday.

Thabethe has identified the establishment of a joint trade committee to facilitate market access, and a joint business council to facilitate easy engagements by businesses from the two 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," she said on Tuesday.

"The increase in investment focus on Africa presents an opportunity for South Africa and Gabon to build sustainable economic relations."

South African ambassador to Gabon Thaninga Shope-Linney said the two countries had enjoyed cordial relations ever since former president Nelson Mandela's visit to Gabon soon after his inauguration in 1994.

"It is from this partnership that the two countries should work on linking each other economically," said Shope-Linney.

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