A number of South African companies will today begin a weeklong trade mission to Zambia that is expected to deepen relations with the southern African country.
"South Africa and Zambia share strong bilateral relations with total trade amounting to R33 billion last year. South Africa's main exports to Zambia include machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals, mineral products, products of the chemical or allied industries, plastics and articles thereof, vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment," said Trade and Industry (dti) Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina.
The Outward Trade and Investment Mission aims to facilitate market access and expose South African companies to the Zambian market while deepening bilateral trade relations.
The dti is positioning South Africa as the preferred trade and investment partner for Zambia, as the country seeks to address its triple economic challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment through its diversification strategy as outlined in Zambia's 7th National Development Plan.
"South Africa and Zambia share strong bilateral relations with total trade amounting to R33 billion last year. South Africa's main exports to Zambia include amongst others, machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals, mineral products, products of the chemical or allied industries, plastics and articles thereof, vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment," said Gina.
Most importantly Gina says the mission is expected to produce possible collaboration between businesspeople that will benefit both countries.
The mission will include trade and investment seminars, targeted business-to-business meetings and sector specific site visits.
Participating companies include those in infrastructure: roads and rail, bridges, ports, built environment professionals; energy; steel fabrication and steel tubing; as well as mining and capital equipment.
The participating companies are funded by the dti through its Export Market and Invest Assistance scheme (EMIA).
State-owned development finance institutions such as Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation, and export councils such as the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC), South African Capital Equipment Export Council, and the Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa will form part of the delegation.
Speaking ahead of the start of the trade mission, SAEEC chief executive officer Chiboni Evans said the mission will be both sector and project focused.
"Together with member companies on the mission, these export councils will be holding meetings and engaging with the key players in Zambia's energy, rail, mining and steel sectors.
"The South African delegation will explore how they can work with Zambia's public and private sectors to meet the local content requirements in the mining sector and how to increase the levels of beneficiation in products mined in Zambia," said Evans.
The mission to the cities of Lusaka and Kitwe consists of 28 South African business representatives, will conclude on Friday.