Minister Rob Davies launches initiative to support trade in Africa

Rob Davies - []

According to The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies will launch Trade Africa (formerly known as the Africa Export Council), a unit established within the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to promote South Africa’s trade relations with the African continent. The initiative will be launched together with the Guidelines for Good Business Practice by South African Companies operating in the rest of Africa, at a Roundtable Discussion on Intra-Africa Trade. The discussion will take place at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria on Friday, 15 July 2016.

Minister Davies says the creation of the Trade Africa initiative is premised on the need to have a dedicated unit responsible for driving South Africa’s exports of manufactured goods and services whilst creating sourcing relationships from the Continent to promote intra-Africa trade.  He says the purpose of the initiative is to leverage the state’s capacity to unlock the bottlenecks experienced by South African businesses when operating in the rest of Africa, through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions as described in the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and other government policies.

“The Roundtable Discussion which is themed Collective Action to Enhance Intra-Africa Trade, is intended to promote collaboration between government and private sector, as well as key stakeholders in fostering trade and optimising economic benefits on the African continent,” adds Minister Davies.

He says the discussion is also aimed as a platform for information sharing on regional economic integration initiatives to support enhanced intra-Africa trade as well as discuss the private sector’s role in fostering regional economic integration and intra-Africa trade, among others.

On launching the Guidelines for good business practice for doing business in Africa, Minister Davies highlights that the guidelines were a proactive initiative by government to promote responsible business practice and good corporate governance by South African companies in the rest of the Africa. He says these guidelines aim to ensure alignment between government and the private sector when engaging with the continent.

“The guidelines aim to encourage South African business to be responsible corporate citizens and to continuously work to minimize operations that have a negative social, economic or environmental impact. This will in turn improve their public image and reputation in the countries and societies in which they operate,” he adds.

Representatives from government departments, business, and other key stakeholders will attend the discussion.