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Zodidi Mahlana/ Insight Africa

There is a potential to double trade and investment relations between South Africa and India over the next five years.

India’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ruchira Kamboj made these remarks at a press briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday as the two nations are preparing to hold a bilateral Business Summit on 29-30 April this year.

Kamboj said that the Summit was aimed at assisting the two countries to accelerate economic partnership.

“In 2016 July, Prime minister of India had paid an official state visit to South Africa, in the course of the visit, our two leaders had felt that there is a lot of potential in the economic partnership between the two countries, while $10billion is good, it’s not good enough. There’s so much we can do because both countries are part of the developing South. Both countries can grow together. There are many skills that India can bring to South Africa. At that time, a target had been set that over the next five years, through a focus on sectors that have potential, let us double the trade and investment because the size of these two countries. These two nations are leaders in their respective continents, so we are following through on that wish,” Kamboj said.

The Summit would focus on a number of sectors including women in business, the fourth industrialization, health care and automotive. Big companies from both countries are also set to participate in the Summit.

According to India’s High Commissioner, there are 180 Indian companies that have invested about $8billion into South Africa and employ over 18 000 locals.

Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies said that despite the fact that South Africa’s total investment to India increased to R10.3 billion in 2017 from R1.4 billion in 2003, investment opportunities could still be created.

Kamboj said that India could bring many business and skills development into South Africa.

“Öne India is very good in education and skills. I can tell you that we are working very closely with the South African government, to inaugurate a skills institute in South Africa in July this year. We are working with the South African Higher education and Training department to have our leaders inaugurate this institute where India brings her knowledge and skills to sectors where South Africa needs the assistance,” she said.

South Africa, India and Brazil, Russia and China are all part of Brics block.

Kamboj said that the preparations for the Brics Summit which is scheduled to take place in July this year are ongoing.

“There are many streams of the economy that we will be focusing on, prior to the Summit, there are many forums that are set to take place, there’s a health forum, there’s academic forum, so our two countries, through the forum are also identifying and working on projects through the Brics format so that they can even be more close relations,” she said.

India’s Commerce and Industry minister and minister are expected to deliver key addresses at the Business Summit.

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