by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – TRADE between South Africa and Tanzania is poised to increase beyond R7 billion (US$453 million) as the former assists its black industrialists to explore markets in the rest of the continent.
Tanzania is the latest addition in the list of countries that the South African government is tapping into in an effort to empower its indigenous entrepreneurs.
Successful market access missions have been arranged to Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is organizing and funding the missions that will culminate in black industrialists operating in the mining and mineral beneficiation, agri-business, information and communication technology (ICT) and energy sectors explore opportunities in Tanzania.
Nomalungelo Gina, the South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, explained market access was one of the three pillars of the Black Industrialists Programme that was initiated in 2015.
Others are capital provision and technical support
“As government we are sparing no effort to assist black industrialists secure the market domestically, in the continent and globally,” Gina said.
She said this was in line with the programme’s objective of accelerating the quantitative and qualitative increase and participation of indigenous entrepreneurs in the national economy, selected industrial sectors and value-chains.
This is also part of the government’s efforts to position its black industrialists and empower them to be able to take advantage of opportunities that are made available by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
In December last year the DTI announced that it had had set aside R40 billion (US2.5 billion) to support 400 black industrialists for the next five years.
Since the inception of the Black Industrialists Programme in 2015, more than 150 beneficiaries’ projects have been approved for a R4,5 billion grant funding under the Black Industrialists Scheme.
Gina explained their focus was deliberately and strategically on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional member states because the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa wanted to assist black industrialists who had proven themselves in the domestic market to gradually expand their footprint into the region before extending to the rest of the continent and other parts of the globe.
Market research conducted by the ministry’s Trade and Invest Africa Unit points to numerous trade and investment opportunities in the Tanzanian market.
One of these is the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) programme that Tanzania is in the process of rolling out in order to stimulate the country’s manufacturing sector with the aim of producing value-added goods for the export markets.
Bilateral trade between South Africa and Tanzania amounted to R7,2 billion in 2019.
South Africa, SADC’s largest economy, heavily dominated the trade with exports exceeding R6,8 billion against imports of just over R400 million.
South African exports to Tanzania were predominantly in manufacturing, mainly machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron and steel.
Conversely, imports from Tanzania were mainly gold, coffee, cashew nuts and cotton.
Last August, the two countries committed to deepen and strengthen economic ties through expanded trade and investment with a goal of achieving decent livelihoods for their combined populations of 115 million people.
The agreement was reached during Ramaphosa’s first state visit to Tanzania, where he met his counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli.
“South Africa is ready and prepared to craft a new partnership model with Tanzania, where government and business work together to clear the way for more investment to flow between our two countries,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News