_: The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, will lead a business delegation on the first Outward Selling and Investment Mission to Benin from 9 to 14 September 2012. The objective of the mission is to increase trade and investment between South Africa and Benin.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, will lead a business delegation on the first Outward Selling and Investment Mission to Benin from 9 to 14 September 2012. The objective of the mission is to increase trade and investment between South Africa and Benin.
“The mission will also serve as an ideal opportunity for South African companies that would like to export value-added products and services, and for companies that are looking for investment opportunities in Benin,” says Thabethe.
She adds that the mission takes place within the context of South Africa’s strategic engagement with the rest of the continent, aimed at supporting Africa’s economic revival, socioeconomic development and promoting intra-Africa trade.
The targeted sectors for mission include agriculture and agro-processing, furniture and wood processing, infrastructure (rail, road and telecoms), built environment professionals (consulting engineers, civil engineering contractors, quantity surveying and architects), mining and capital equipment, and electro technical (electronics, electrical engineers, ICT).
The mission will expose South African companies to available trade and investment opportunities in Benin and allow South African companies an opportunity to interact and exchange business contacts with their Beninese counterparts with an endeavour to forge partnerships and joint ventures. In the medium term the mission will have a positive impact in terms of increase export sales of South African manufactured goods and service.
“It is important for South Africa to continue to pursue economic collaboration and partnership with African countries when crafting the way forward for sustainable economic development and the development of investment in the African region. Benin, like most countries in Africa, presents wealth of business opportunities for South African companies. By establishing their presence in this country, South African companies would be able to access other markets in West Africa region and Africa at large,” said Thabethe.
The domestic economy of Benin revolves around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 35.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the main source of income for over half of the population. Cotton is the main commercial crop and accounts for about 45% of foreign-exchange earnings. The hydroelectric potential of the Mono River, which forms the border with Togo, is being developed, with the construction of dams for power generation and irrigation. Mineral reserves, notably of marble, iron, and phosphate, are not fully exploited, and this presents an opportunity for investments.