South Africa has identified India as a strategic partner due to the fact that its economy presents enormous trade and investment opportunities for South African businesses, says Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.
Thabethe was addressing a seminar attended by businesspeople from South Africa and India at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi on Monday, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) kicked off its fourth trade and investment mission to the Asian country.
The minister was due to open an exhibition by South African companies on Tuesday, and to pay a courtesy call on her counterpart, Indian Deputy Minister for Commerce and Industry Daggubati Purandeswari.
The delegation of South African businesspeople taking part in the mission, which ends on Friday, will also take part in various site visits and business-to-business meetings.
According to the DTI, companies that took part in similar missions to Mumbai and Chennai in March 2012 had interactions with 600 potential buyers during which 144 trade leads were generated, three agents/distributors were appointed, and export orders to the value of R28.2-million were successfully negotiated.
Speaking ahead of her latest trip, Thabethe said South African companies "have not adequately exploited the opportunities presented by the Indian market of 1.2-billion people."
She noted that trade between South Africa and India had almost trebled from R16.3-billion in 2007 to R61.65-billion in November 2012, driven by a major increase in South African exports.
During President Jacob Zuma's state visit to India in 2010, the two countries set themselves the target of achieving US$15-billion in trade by 2014.
Thabethe told Monday's forum that South Africa was looking to grow trade in targeted sectors, including agro-processing, metals beneficiation, mining technology, and automotive component manufacturing.
South Africa was also looking to attract foreign direct investment and joint venture partnerships in pharmaceuticals, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure development, among other sectors.
"The realisation of these opportunities should and must be anchored on the necessary support to small and medium enterprises as true drivers of the economy."
- SAinfo reporter