South Africa: Belarus MOU Positions Mpumalanga As SA Breadbasket

Nelspruit — MPUMALANGA is poised to play a greater role in boosting South Africa's agricultural production and create numerous jobs for local youth following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Belarus government.

The proposed establishment of a tractor plant in Secunda is a highlight of the agreement.

Alexander Sidoruk, the Belarus High Commissioner to South Africa, made the announcement on Wednesday at the Mpumalanga Public Private Partnership (PPP) Symposium and Project Showcase in the provincial capital, Nelspruit.

"Apart from the existing relationship between Belarus and South Africa, Belarus found it necessary to further develop relationships with the country's provinces to stimulate development. We believe we can use our experience here in Mpumalanga (boost agriculture)," Sidoruk said.

Sidoruk said the Eastern European country would soon sign bilateral relations with the provincial government, aimed at increasing tourism partnerships between the two parties and eventually order create more job opportunities.

Speaking at the same event, Mpumalanga Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Finance, Economic Development and Finance, Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, said the PPP Symposium and Project Showcase sought to unlock more opportunities for the youths and create more jobs.

He said the administration aimed to reverse current trends where government was the major employer.

"We cannot have a situation where government employs more workers than the private sector. Instead, it has to be the private sector that creates more jobs," Kholwane said.

He urged the private sector to seize economic opportunities the provincial government was unlocking in tourism and agriculture to create jobs for the youths.

"We urge the private sector to empower Small and Medium-sized (SMEs) to increase the value chain," he said.

Themed the 'Accelerating Socio-Economic Growth Through Strategic Partnerships', the symposium and showcase aims to position Mpumalanga as the breadbasket of South Africa.

Kholwane said the main purpose of the initiative was to identify right partners for the provincial government.

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