President Jacob Zuma says South Africa andIndia have set an ambitious bilateral target of advancing trade by $18 billion by 2018.
Zuma says achieving this will require private sector engagement as well as governments’ efforts of focusing on areas which are inhibiting business growth.
Zuma, together with his counterpart Narendra Modi, addressed the joint South Africa-India Business Forum in Pretoria.
In 2015, trade between South Africa and India stood at R95 billion. India’s exports to South Africa increased from R24 billion in 2011 to R54 billion in 2015.
South Africa says while the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to increase exports from South Africa to India.
Co-chair of the South Africa CEO’s forum in South Africa, Vivian Reddy, says business leaders from both countries have undertaken to ensure that the value of trade and investment is increased.
“It is going to be this CEO’s forum that’s going to play a critical role in improving the trade between our industries. This potential powerhouse which has been kept at bay is what has been reignited by the determination of the captains of industry which was initially spearheaded by Patrice Motsepe. From India’s perspective, we want to submit that we are actually ready to assist South Africa.”
The two countries signed mulitibillion rand MoUs which will see greater cooperation increased in the areas of finance, defence, mining, manufacturing, healthcare as well as education.
Co-chair of the South Africa CEO’s forum in India, Adri Godrej, says, “In financial service sector, it was agreed that South African companies should further look for opportunities in the deep level mining area. There is an enormous opportunity here.”
Zumas’ counterpart Modi says India is ready to assist South Africa in the areas of technology as well as skills development
Meanwhile, President Zuma says the two countries plan to increase trade by $18 billion by 2018.
“India and South Africa are among the leading developing economies globally and increased economic activity between the two countries.”
Zumas’ counterpart Modi says India is ready to assist South Africa in the areas of technology as well as skills development. He says India has massive investment opportunities for the country and will be training 50 000 Africans in the next five years.
India highlighted that to attract investment it has ensured that there is ease of doing business. It says it has put in place economic reforms that have opened up key sectors for foreign investors to explore.
India and South Africa are both members of the BRICS group of emerging markets which includes: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
India, in size, is larger than South Africa with a land mass of 2.9million square kilometers compared to South Africa’s 1.2million square kilometers.
India’s population dwarfs South Africa at more than 1.3 billion people squeezed into an area of land that’s only more than twice our size. That means there are about 440 people per square kilometer in India which is ten times more than our 45 people per square kilometer.