Pretoria: South African business people who are on a selling and investment mission, led by Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe, in Benin, have expressed their excitement in investing in that country.
Thabethe and the 15-member business delegation arrived in Benin on Sunday night, with the mission’s objective being to increase trade and investment between South Africa and Benin.
The business delegation on Monday attended a trade and investment seminar that was also attended by businesspeople from Benin.
Thabethe, who gave a keynote address at the seminar, urged South Africa’s business community to seize trade and investment opportunities in Benin.
Meanwhile, Madina Sephou, the Minister of Industry, Trade, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Benin, said businesses from SA and Benin should take advantage of the conducive environment created by the two governments and form partnerships that will assist in boosting trade.
Peggy Mahlaba, who is a Cape Town electrical infrastructure engineer and managing director of Imbovotho Engineering, said presentations made at the seminar showed there were abundant opportunities across the Beninese economy, with the country undertaking a major infrastructure development programme.
“We are interested in claiming our stake in the energy-generation sphere as the country experiences a serious shortage of electricity. Load shedding is common as they lack capacity to generate sufficient power and meet the consumption demand,” said Mahlaba.
Interior designer as well as Deputy Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of the South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (SAWEN), Phindile Mkhize, said the development proposed in the tourism sector would give her an opportunity to decorate hotels, lodges and other tourist attractions in Benin with South African d,cor, in which the people of the West African country have shown interest.
“I will be sharing information on all the opportunities in Benin and contacts of relevant people in different sectors with other SAWEN members so that they can also come here and establish partnerships with other businesswomen,” said Mkhize.
North West businessman Gordon Cornish said agriculture and agro-processing in Benin beckon positively. Cornish said he would study all aspects of both sectors, including issues around legislation governing land ownership, as he intended to invest in land to set up an agricultural and agro-processing business.
Meanwhile, Daniel Magagula of JK Consulting Engineers in Gauteng said he had identified opportunities in mining and the construction of the national road network that the Beninese government has embarked on.
The dti said the mission would 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 efforts to forge partnerships and joint ventures.