Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the South Africa-Zambia business gala dinner, Mulungushi Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia
8 Dec 2009
My dear friend, brother and colleague, Excellency President Banda
Mr F Mutati, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Leadership of the Zambian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Business Unity South Africa
Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening to you all!
We are pleased to be able to spend this evening with the business delegation of our two countries. This enables us to reaffirm our commitment to deepen at a practical level, the economic relations between our two countries.
Our two countries and peoples share very warm and deep history of solidarity and friendship including family and blood ties. We therefore have a good foundation on which to base our bilateral relations. We are not strangers to each other, we have a common outlook, and we are one people.
Your Excellency, I am therefore here to ask Zambia, to partner with us in working for a future of growth, stability and prosperity for our two countries.
As indicated earlier, our business delegation comprises of 60 companies in the following sectors - Energy and Petroleum, information communication technology (ICT), infrastructure, financial services, healthcare, mining as well as agro-processing.
South Africa and Zambia already have a well established trade relationship, and this week's interaction amongst businesspeople should serve to further enhance that. The major exports from South Africa to Zambia include mineral oils and fuels, autos and components, chemicals, steel and capital equipment.
In addition to this we have seen significant investments from South Africa to Zambia, amounting to 789 million US dollars. Sectors where South African companies have invested include metals, real estate, ICT, financial services and chemicals. As the South African government we will continue to give our full support to these growing trade relations.
Mr President, business leaders,
While working hard to deepen our economic linkages, we must reflect on the challenges that confront the two countries. These challenges are similar, and in the main entail socio-economic and development.
They include poverty alleviation, creation of sustainable employment and reducing inequality in standards of living and economic growth. These challenges are neither new nor irreversible. But while they have long been recognised, and measures put in place to deal with them, they must now be addressed in the context of an integrated Africa.
It is in this regard that the two countries need to continue to vigorously partner each other in furtherance of their shared vision. For the two countries to address the challenges within this new context, it is required of them to have a paradigm shift.
This is in regard to the way in which we think, and approach the challenges.
The key imperative involves seeking enhanced access to global markets for our exports, for investment, technology, and finance that is essential for the success of our growth and development strategies.
Our approach should be two fold. We need to enhance our access to the major sources of investment and finance in the North, but our efforts need to be supplemented by deepening linkages between ourselves and among the countries of the South. We need to replicate the experience of highly developed countries in the post-1995 period where global economic growth was driven by increased trade and investment flows within the countries of the North.
This approach raises important questions of trade policy and the need to carefully manage the process of reform of the trade regimes, both domestic and global trade regimes. We need to ensure that the reform processes contribute to enhancing efficiency and competitiveness in our domestic economies.
They must also promote the overall economic growth strategy, in line with our respective industrial and development strategies. It is in this context that we need to consider our approach to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and regional trade arrangements.
The trading system needs to be responsive to the trade and development interests of the developing world. In light of this, countries such as South Africa and Zambia have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the unfairness and inequities in the trading system is addressed. We must ensure that our business sectors begin to enjoy a trading environment that is less restrictive. While multilateralism is a preferred approach, we have to also recognise that increased access to markets and deeper economic linkages are taking place in parallel, through a proliferation of regional and bilateral free trade arrangements.
In this regard it is important for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to adopt a common approach on the implementation of the SADC Free Trade Protocol despite the challenges brought about by the global economic crisis. We also recognise that the objectives of enhanced economic development can be achieved through mutually beneficial regional integration projects.
It is in this regard that a common approach should be adopted on proposals by our partners in the North, such as the European Interim Partnership Agreement.
These are some of the issues that we will continue to engage with as we meet Your Excellency, as they need constant reflection to find solutions.
My dear brother and friend,
Your Excellency Mr President, there are no doubt various opportunities that are waiting to be explored, from tourism to ICT and energy and various areas in the two economies.
Our South African and Zambian business people will therefore find abundant opportunities for cooperation in both countries. We regard our visit as a building block for creating further opportunities to strengthen business to business links.
We therefore today, together, confirm that South Africa and Zambia are open for business! May our economic relations continue to grow from strength to strength!
I thank you.
Cell: 072 715 0024
Issued by: The Presidency
8 December 2009
Source: The Presidency (http://www.thepresidency.gov.za)
Issued by: The Presidency
8 Dec 2009
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