SA should be Africa's gateway: Ambassador

By Drum Digital
28 March 2012

South Africa should be used as a gateway into Africa so it can create business links and opportunities for the continent, the country's ambassador to Russia has said.

"South Africa is the largest trading economy in Africa and contains 25 percent outputs of all Africa's economies and [is] also one of the active and strongest players in the continent," Mandisi Mpahlwa said on Tuesday (SUBS: March 27), according to a statement from the trade and industry department.

"It is therefore important that trading partners, especially Russia and neighbouring countries, expand their export footprint through our formal structures."

Mpahlwa had addressed delegates at the Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) in Moscow, Russia. The ITI introduced local firms to the Russian market with the aim of helping South Africa's new and existing exporters to enter the market.

Mpahlwa said business forums were important for both South Africa and Russia.

"These and other formal forums such as BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] will lead our work and increase trade between the two countries."

Moloko Leshaba, director for Europe, bilateral relations within the trade and industry department, said Russia and South Africa had good economic relations.

"Each country is boasting technological and industrial capabilities that present opportunities and co-operation for the companies taking part in the ITI. This will foster closer linkages and trade opportunities for businesses," he said.

Russia was the world's seventh largest economy by nominal gross domestic product and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity. It was also South Africa's 41st export destination.

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