A new Scottish business network with support from business and government is launching in Africa.
The launch event of the Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN) will take place on November 6 at Bowmans in Cape Town.
According to a statement, the ASBN is "a dynamic, Scottish diasporic network based in Africa connecting the fast-developing African continent with the progressive spirit and booming industries of Scotland". It is described as a fully independent membership network of businesspeople and companies founded by a diverse team of successful Scottish and African entrepreneurs.
It is foreseen that the organisation will strengthen economic, social and cultural ties between South Africa and Scotland, leveraging the potential to increase trade and relations.
"I’ve not only observed the strength and size of the Scottish diaspora in Africa but also the similarities in our identities and business values. Our people share a unique spirit, a deep sense of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship," says Claire Alexander, a Scottish entrepreneur living in South Africa and co-founder of ASBN.
"The inevitable move was to create a collectively led business network built by entrepreneurs, one that embraces our common ground as well as prospering in the rich diversity of the African business ecosystem”.
The Scottish Government's new strategy paper "Scotland, a trading nation" sets out their intention to become a stronger and more connected country.
ASBN's partner network includes the Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), Scottish Business Network (SBN), Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scottish Enterprise (SE).
The organisation also welcomes businesses from other countries who have an interest in doing business with Scottish and African companies in the Africa Scotland Business Network.
Tim Harris, CEO of the Western Cape's investment and trade promotion agency Wesgro, says networks such as the ASBN are important to build relationships and open up business opportunities between nations and regions.
In 2017, Wesgro undertook a trade mission to Edinburgh with now Premier Alan Winde to discuss ongoing collaboration and opportunities between South Africa and Scotland.