Statement issued by the ANC communication office
The first Progressive Business Forum (PBF) international trade delegation of 2013 has concluded a highly successful visit to Kenya this week. The strong delegation consisting of nearly 60 South African business persons representing nearly 50 South African companies was led by the South African Deputy Minister of Trade, Elizabeth Thabethe, and the Co-Convenor of the ANC PBF, Renier Schoeman.
The delegation was welcomed in Kenya by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Abdul Razak Adan Ali, at a PBF function attended by senior Kenyan government officials and business leaders.
The anchor event of the visit was a business seminar co-hosted by the PBF and the Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also attended by Permanent Secretary Ali, Deputy Minister of Trade of Kenya, Manson Nyamweya, and Secretary of External Trade, Simon Chacha Nyang. The Kenyan business leadership was represented by Stephen Mbugua, National Chair of the Chamber, and James Mureu, Chair of the Mombasa branch.
In her keynote speech, Deputy Minister Thabethe, inter alia, said “Today is important because opportunities are created for business-to-business engagement to explore our respective markets. I strongly commend the South African and Kenyan sides for taking this initiative and must state that like Kenya, South Africa is open for business!”
She went on to say “Opportunities abound in Africa and South African companies enjoy potentially winning comparative advantages derived of domestic experience and relatively shorter channels to market. Whereas as South African companies are sector leaders in mining, mobile phone, retail, beverage and tourism sectors, the following areas of growth are ripe:
– Energy (gas, petroleum and renewables, solar, wind and hydro).
– Health care (private hospitals and management)
– Financial services (particularly cost-effective first-time banking,
micro finance and personal insurance)
– Training and capacity building (mining, engineering, retail,
hospitality sector, financial services, media and advertising)
Importantly, the establishment of mutually beneficial partnerships with local entities is central to success. Irrespective of size, scale or sector, success in doing business in Africa is founded on working with local partners of integrity who share the same values and vision for a better Africa for all.
Within the region, Kenya is the economic linchpin and has the potential to drive economic development. Because of its strategic location, its relatively developed infrastructure, educated working class and large middle class, Kenya has the ability to serve as either the locomotive of development or of the region and further afield.
Kenya is an important and strategic country for South Africa particularly for its geo-political position in the East Africa region; its economic size and importance for trade with South Africa.
The presence of our biggest-ever delegation in Kenya, and of the impressive Kenyan business presence here today, bears witness to the fact that we are all strongly in favour of collective efforts to do business in Kenya – we are proud to have been a part of today’s efforts and starting that process, and you may all be sure, we are here for the long haul.”
On the Kenyan side all speakers welcomed the timing and size of the delegation and committed themselves to continuing efforts to strengthen economic links between South Africa and Kenya.
Renier Schoeman, conveyed a message from the ANC Treasurer General, Dr.
Zweli Mkhize, in which he said that the visit would not only add to economic links but also reconfirm the historically warm and friendly relations with Kenya as a highly strategic African country which has emerged as one of the leading centres for international trade in East
In his own speech, Schoeman said that the PBF had deliberately chosen Kenya as the very first global destination of 2013, emphasizing the PBF’s commitment to Africa as trade and investment destination. He said the visit was also intended to lift the profile of economic links between the two countries and announced that it had been agreed in principle that a reciprocal Kenyan business delegation would visit South Africa in 2013 at the invitation of the PBF which would host such a visit.
After the formal seminar, interactive business-to-business meetings between the South African delegates and more than 100 Kenyan attendees took place. After formal presentations on business opportunities in Kenya, an evening dinner was hosted for the delegation at the world famous Carnivore Restaurant outside Nairobi by the CEO of Keninvest, Julius Rotich.
Before flying to Mombasa, the group visited the Special Economic Zone, led by Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.
In Mombasa the group will hold a business breakfast with the Mombasa branch of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will also hold business-to-business meetings led by the Chamber Chair, James Mureu, before returning to South Africa.
ANC National Spokesperson