(MENAFN Editorial) JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 3, 2017/APO/ --
South African Ambassador to Tunisia, Mr. Harold Hoyana said that the South African government is committed to strengthening and consolidating relations with Tunisia and has made a concerted effort to promote trade and stimulate investment between the two countries. He was speaking at the South Africa-Tunisia Business Forum hosted in Tunis yesterday. The forum was attended by businesspeople from South Africa and Tunisia.
Hoyana said the primary goal of the forum was to encourage business to business interactions that will eventually result in tangible outcomes for both countries' economies and to find measures to stimulate and increase volumes of direct trade.
'Through initiatives like this there is certainly a demonstration from both countries that we need to develop mechanisms that will see us moving beyond the current low levels of trade and investment as depicted by 2015/6 trade figures which put total trade at less than R500 million, said Hoyana.
South Africa and Tunisia enjoy cordial bilateral relations that have yielded a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in numerous areas within the ambit of the Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC). Both countries are working towards establishing a Joint Trade and Investment Committee (JTIC) which will go a long way towards advancing the bilateral trade between the two countries.
'The keenness of Tunisians to do business with South Africa was greatly demonstrated by the recent trade mission undertaken by Tunisian companies to the Eastern Cape which yielded positive results. One of the main outcomes was an MoU between the East London IDZ (ELIDZ), Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and The Industrial Development Zone (Coega IDZ) with their Tunisian counterpart, Zarzis Economic Activity Park. The negotiations of this agreement are on-going and at an advanced stage, said Hoyana.
The President of the Tunisian Investment Authority, Mr Khalil Laabidi expressed his excitement at the business forum and said that Tunisia was a diverse market-oriented economy with important agricultural, mining, tourism and manufacturing industries and offering many opportunities for investment.
'Our main focus has always been on encouraging exports, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and tourism. I want to encourage more collaborative efforts of this nature from both countries, said Laabidi.
He added that South Africa and Tunisia already enjoyed cooperation in the fields of health, social development, science and technology, culture and sports, and this cooperation has significantly strengthened over the years.
Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.