20 March 2017

West Africa: Opportunities Abound for Local Companies in West Africa

Pretoria — A local company is looking forward to increasing its market as it participates in the Department of Trade and Industry's trade and investment mission to Ghana and Nigeria this week.

Senior Marketing Manager at Berfin, Portia Schippers, said she is looking forward to expand her company's profile in the two-leg trade and investment mission, which kicks off today.

Berfin is a local company based in Cape Town. It specialises in the manufacturing of juice, cooking sauces, condiments, spices, sweets, chutney, salad dressing, stock, canned items, dried fruit and non-alcoholic sparkling grape juices.

The company forms part of the 20-member strong delegation of South African companies that are taking part in the investment mission.

Schippers said the mission presents an opportunity for the company, which currently employs 30 people, to open up foreign markets.

"It is an opportunity to check the market and see if the market can be valuable for one's products. Most people still think that Africa has nothing to offer, but that is not true," she said.

The mission forms part of the dti's objective to identify and create export markets for South African value-added products and services. It also serves to promote South African products, and service offerings, and to also create business partnerships between business communities of the three respective countries.

Sectors targeted for the mission are agro-processing, electro-technical, infrastructure, mining and capital equipment. The programme for the mission will include trade and investment seminars, site visits and business-to-business meetings.

South Africa's exports to Nigeria increased almost doubled from R6.4 billion in 2012 to R8.3 billion in 2015, slightly declining to R6.4 billion in 2016. The two countries continuously traded goods at high capacity and Nigeria maintained the trade surplus of R23 billion in 2016.

"In 2016, South Africa's total trade of goods to Ghana reached R45.09 billion. This comprised exports valued at R4.9 billion, while imports were valued at R192 million. South Africa registered a trade surplus of R4.7 billion with Ghana in 2016," said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

The visit to West Africa will conclude on Saturday.

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