Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe concludes Ghana and Benin Outward Selling and Investment Mission

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe concluded an Outward Selling and Investment Mission where she led 29 business people to Ghana and Benin with the aim of increasing trade and investment with the two West African countries.

Companies forming Deputy Minister Thabethe’s delegation were assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA). The EMIA scheme develops export markets for South African products and services and recruits new foreign direct investment into South Africa.

Thabethe said that this was a first time venture into Ghana however, the results were satisfactory and that the country was promising as an emerging developing strategic partner.

“The government of Ghana and business community demonstrated an extreme keenness to tap into our skills and best practices as they are lacking on that level. Our business-to-business interactions and seminars yielded promising results that still need to be followed-up intensely and I think it will be in our second attempt where we will see tangible results,” said Thabethe.

Thabethe said she was pleased to have had the opportunity to engage her counterpart Mr Haruna Idrissu, who expressed his government’s commitment to fast-track the implementation of the Economic and Technical Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2011. According to Thabethe, the MoU advocated to intensify efforts for the promotion of bilateral trade, industrial development, capacity-building and infrastructure development between the two countries.

In addition, Thabethe said that Benin was the more successful of the two missions primarily because it was a follow-up to a mission ventured upon in September 2012. She said there were some business delegation members who had reported good business leads that they were following in Benin.

“One notable meeting was with the Cotonou Ports Authority which has an ageing infrastructure and are desperate to renovate and revamp, so it can handle ships of a bigger capacity. They are currently engaging in discussions with Transnet and the dti will follow-up on these discussions to make sure they come to fruition,” she added.

Teboho Price Monahadi of Archi-MStudio Architects, a Bloemfontein based company that was part of the delegation said that it was his second time traveling to Benin.

“On our first visit we identified a private development project to build a hotel in Benin. This is a project we are currently pursuing. We believe that business is doable in this country and therefore we are pursuing several other opportunities we have identified,” he said.

Thabethe said that both missions yielded positive results and that intense follow-up would have to take place on a bilateral level to ensure that results gained are sustained therefore leading to the realisation of continental cooperation and growth.

Sidwell Medupe, Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: 012 394 1650
Cell: 079 492 1774