Wesgro, in partnership with the Department of the Premier of the Western Cape, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Mazars South Africa, welcomed business delegations from across the continent for the Africa Day Business Networking Forum today. A total of 30 delegates from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Guinea, Cote d’ivoire, and Angola will join 150 invited Western Cape businesses for this programme.
Denan Kuni, Wesgro’s Head of International Trade said that the key aim of this networking forum is to bring business people from across the continent closer together. “By doing this, we can share our experiences, learn from each other, and help promote intra-Africa trade and investment.”
“This year’s Africa Day conference speakers will discuss issues pertinent to trade and investment in Africa, especially around financing and E-commerce as a means to increase intra-Africa trade. The event will also present an opportunity to network with delegates from various parts of Africa, as well as consular officials from Angola, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Ghana, Namibia and Zimbabwe” continued Michael Gamwo, Wesgro’s Head for Africa within the Trade Unit.
The programme also included a b2b engagement at Wesgro yesterday, 23 May 2019, as well as business site visit to various local business. The sectors of interest for the delegations include agribusiness, manufactured goods, security systems and services.
Africa was the destination region for the largest share of Western Cape exports (USD3.35bn) in 2017, with SACU (USD1.8bn) and SADC (USD973m) being the second and third largest sub regions for Western Cape exports after the European Union (USD2.48bn). The rest of Africa is also the largest destination for investment by Western Cape companies, accounting for 54% of outward FDI investment from 2008 – September 2018. In addition, an estimated 46% of international companies investing in the Western Cape indicated that they intended on using the Western Cape as a springboard into Africa.
The keynote speaker at the networking forum was the Head of Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Solly Fourie. Mr Fourie said: “The Africa Day celebrations afford us not only with the opportunity for deep reflection on how we respond to the pressing socio-economic challenges we face on our continent, but also the opportunity to resolve to work together to find lasting and meaningful solutions to address these challenges.”
Other organisations that presented at the event included the IDC, which discussed finance available for Africa based projects, Tralac, which presented on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, and DropStore, which spoke to the running of an e-commerce business in Africa.
Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management warmly welcomed delegates to Cape Town: "As a city, we realise the importance of building relationships with our African counterparts. To this end, we are continually investing in projects and programmes that enhance the connectivity between cities and countries on the African continent. As the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, my portfolio has the potential to ensure that we continue to be the go-to city on the African continent and globally for business, trade, and tourism,’ said Alderman Vos.
In her closing remarks, Head of Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape, Joyene Isaacs concluded: “Africa for Africans, what does it mean? As Africans we need to talk to each other so that we can identify the synergies and explore the opportunities to grow the African economy together. So the celebration today is an attempt to create a platform for us to talk about Africa for Africans by Africans.”