S African Chambers Of Commerce Welcome Initiatives By Indian Missions To Boost Trade
A host of South African Chambers of Commerce and trade organisations have welcomed an offer from the Indian Consulate in Johannesburg to use the various initiatives started by the government of India to boost mutual trade.
Consul General Mahesh Kumar hosted delegations from four of the nine South African provinces under his jurisdiction at an interactive session on exploring synergies between India and South Africa.
Dr Vineet Kumar, Commercial Representative at the Consulate, shared initiatives such as Make in India, Start-up India, Digital India, the Smart City Mission, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, which is aimed at creating immense opportunities in India.
Kumar emphasised though that all these initiatives were aimed at mutually beneficial trade and development.
“In South Africa, Chambers of Commerce (COCs) and Trade Bodies have a mandate of doing this, while in India, these activities are carried out by Export Promotion Councils (EPCs). These EPCs work similarly to Trade Bodies and COCs, keeping track of membership, recommending companies for trade, and maintaining verified trade networks,” Kumar explained.
The Consulate offered to assist with trade queries and verifications, networking events and facilitation of delegation visits and interactions.
Mritunjay Kapur, Executive Director, Head of Advisory, KPMG South Africa, said in the two years that he had been in South Africa, there were real opportunities for India and South Africa to work together and enhance cooperation across the private sector and also between the governments.
“There’s a lot of growth that has happened in India and I can see a similar type of growth happening in South Africa as well. I guess both the countries have a lot to learn from each other,” Kapur said.
Danny Vengedasamy, Chamber Manager at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said India had recently provided an opportunity for emerging farmers to learn about the development models there to implement them in the agricultural sector in South Africa.
“I believe there are a lot of synergies in trade; a lot of partnerships; a lot of collaboration that we can actually do together and I think that will put us both in good stead,” Vengedasamy said as he reminded the gathering that the SACCI President, Mtho Xulu, had signed an MoU with India at the BRICS Summit hosted earlier this year in Johannesburg.
“We now need to look at what (India) puts up there from the Export Promotion Councils etc. and how we can fast-track that to make meaningful business out of that,” Vengedasamy said.
Peter Makhafola, Web Director of Indo-Africa Business Bridge, wants to foster investment into both the countries.
“We are looking at setting up an offshore development centre in India and we would like to know what type of incentives there would be available for an entity that is established in South Africa if it does such an investment into India,” Makhafola said.
Kgotso Mmadi, Chairperson of the Wesvaal Chamber of Business in the North West Province requested an urgent meeting date with the Consulate to discuss projects started by its members.
“We have already identified five projects that we would like India to either invest in or to interact with an exchange of skills. We have learners that we believe can benefit from India,” he said
Mmadi said that the Covid-19 pandemic had stopped a group of students from his region going to India as part of the The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), the international capacity-building platform of the Ministry of External Affairs.
In his response, the Consul General pledged to follow up on all the matters raised by the delegates, including with his colleagues at the High Commission in Pretoria and the consulates in Durban and Cape Town.
He added that all the EPC’s in India had been requested to visit South Africa or to to facilitate online interaction with their counterparts here.