Remarks by President Jacob Zuma during the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum Meeting held during State Visit and Launch of the South Africa-Tanzania Binational Commission, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
His Excellency, President John Pombe Magufuli,
Representatives of Business from South Africa and Tanzania,
Good day to you all in this beautiful city of Dar es Salaam.
It is my distinct pleasure to address the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum attended by respective Captains of Industry, as we celebrate Africa Month.
We are excited to be in Tanzania on a state visit, given the rich history between the two countries.
The relations between the two countries date back to the days of our liberation struggle, when Tanzania stood with the South African people against an evil system of governance then, which was declared a crime against humanity.
The visit is yet another celebration and acknowledgement of that history of solidarity and friendship.
We have agreed with His Excellency that we need to expand relations further between the two countries, especially economic cooperation, so that our peoples can reap the benefits of these historic relations.
To date, there are more than 200 South African companies investing in Tanzania across a wide spectrum of sectors. These include agriculture, commercial buildings, telecommunications and advertising, financial sector, transportation, manufacturing, natural resources, mining and petroleum, as well as the tourism infrastructure and services.
There are further opportunities as well within the infrastructure arena, including roads, as well as agro-processing, minerals beneficiation, Information and Communication Technologies, tourism, energy, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas and the financial services sector.
We urge our business sector to explore these areas further. In our discussions this morning, His Excellency President Magufuli has urged more South African companies to invest in Tanzania. I think this is an important call that I encourage all of you to heed.
South Africa is particularly going big on infrastructure development.
Our domestic investments include the construction of ports, roads and railway systems as a path to stimulate economic growth and link us to our neighbours in Southern Africa, and eventually the rest of the Continent. His Excellency President Magufuli has also invited South African companies to invest in infrastructure development in Tanzania, especially in transportation infrastructure.
While we welcome the growing trends on our bilateral trade, we should also note that a concentration on commodities is not sustainable.
The recent drop in commodity prices has shown that governments cannot rely on commodity rents as an engine of growth and development.
Africa's heavy reliance on commodities has the potential to be disruptive and destabilise our economies. It also does not create sufficient quality jobs to lift large segments of the population out of poverty.
In this regard, we need to look at intensifying production and the trade of intermediate and final consumer products.
We are convinced that our economic relations will benefit immensely from the successful talks we have held today, and the inauguration of the South Africa-Tanzania Binational Commission given the progress that has taken place.
Progress has already been posted in many areas including environmental affairs, defence cooperation, trade, transport as well as science and technology.
Two memoranda of understanding on Transport and Biodiversity were signed during this visit, adding to fourteen that are already in existence. The implementation of the agreements will take us further in ensuring an improvement in our cooperation.
Distinguished Guests, our robust economic engagements have begun to yield fruits.
However, to make further progress, it is imperative that we work together towards the elimination of market restrictive measures.
As governments, the onus is upon us to assist our business sector by dealing with the tariff and non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder trade between our two countries.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, last week we hosted a successful Africa meeting of the World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa.
The session reminded us that Africa has placed industrialisation at the core of its efforts to promote sustainable growth and development, as well as its regional integration initiatives.
Critical to this is Africa's effective participation in the global economy and its ability to adapt to the fourth Industrial Revolution. This would ensure necessary investments in technology and industrial financing that will improve Africa's competitiveness and productive capacity.
We must not lose this opportunity.
Your Excellency, distinguished guests, the late President Julius Nyerere once said and I quote "If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved."
In whatever we do, in everything we are doing, we must put the people of South Africa and Tanzania first.
They should benefit from this historic relationship through improved cooperation, and visible action that will change their lives for the better.
We wish the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum success in all its activities, for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
Owing to the strategic importance we accord to Tanzania, South Africa will undertake a trade mission in June with a view to taking forward the commitments made during this visit towards further cementing economic cooperation in the various areas identified.
This follows various trade promotion activities that the Department of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the local Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce working together with the Tanzanian Investment Centre have undertaken.
As some of you may be aware, South Africa regularly participates in the Dar Es Salaam International Trade Fair. In 2016 we won the first prize in the category of best foreign exhibitor in 2016.
Through this State Visit today and the inauguration of the Binational Commission, together with this Business Forum, we are demonstrating our commitment to strengthen our cooperation, especially in the economic sphere.
I urge all of you to take advantage of this close relationship between the two countries.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency