Addressing the Qatar Business Roundtable on Wednesday in Doha, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the delegates that South Africa is the most industrialised economy in Africa with well-established companies and developed manufacturing and services sectors.
“Many of these companies are active in the Middle East and indeed Qatar. These companies, such as Sasol in the petro-chemical sector with its advanced technologies and iconic consumer brands such as Nandos and Ocean Basket.
“South African agriculture and agro-processing companies are world class, and we can support the Food Security Program of the State of Qatar. Beyond these, South Africa is developing its expertise in areas such as pharmaceuticals, the space industry and advanced manufacturing”.
Ramophosa said South Africa was also developing greater market access across the world because of its free trade agreements with countries such as the European Union and the United Kingdom.
‘We are about to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area, uniting 54 economies into a large tariff-free market intended to cover 1.3 billion consumers”.
South African has access to the US market on preferential terms through the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and preferential access to certain Latin American markets.
Ramaphosa also reminded the delegates that the African continent has vast resources of critical minerals that will be used as the world embraces cleaner, greener growth.
“The demand for these minerals provides an opportunity to industrialise the South African and wider African economies. There are opportunities now for partnerships in renewable energy storage technologies, such as battery-manufacturing for energy grid systems and electric vehicles”.
South Africa attracts investors from across the world, with more than 600 American firms and substantial investment from China, the UK and the European Union. Some of the world’s largest corporations are active in the South African market as investors, he said.
“Investors value the overall stability and the well-developed legal system that provides clarity on contractual matters, with well-established procedures for contract enforcement”.
During his speech he voiced his unhappiness on the events happening in Palestine saying the growing deaths of civilians, particularly children, grieves us all.
“South Africa supports all efforts to secure an immediate and full ceasefire, with talks on a political solution to address the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood”.