Pretoria – Economic Counsellor for the South African High Commission in Tanzania, Frans van Aardt, says South Africa and Tanzania must work to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Currently, the trade balance is skewed in South Africa’s favour and efforts should be doubled to address the imbalance. Tanzania is an emerging economy with high growth potential, relatively diversified economy and a number of opportunities remain untapped in many sectors, said Van Aardt on Thursday.
A delegation of 21 business people arrived in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania on Thursday to participate in the second leg of the Outward Selling Mission (OSM) that is being led by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
In 2015, South African exports to Tanzania amounted to R6.5 billion, whereas imports from Tanzania amounted to R377 million.
Speaking at a welcoming session of the business delegation, Van Aardt said South Africa and Tanzania must continue with economic diplomacy that will eventually sort out the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Van Aardt said the business community must take advantage of the fact that economic relations between the two countries continue to expand and bilateral political relations are favourable and conducive for growth.
Currently about 170 South African companies are operating in the East African country.
Van Aardt said indications are that growth will continue on an upward trajectory for the next couple of years, as the Tanzanian Industrial Policy has identified the promotion of the private sector in taking the lead in industrialising the economy of the country.
The current industrial policy direction points to deepening the private sector led industrial growth as a way of transforming the economy from its heavy reliance on agriculture, which accounts for more than a quarter of the GDP, to manufacturing, he said.
Van Aardt, who reiterated South Africa’s commitment to the growth of Tanzania, wished the business delegation well as they prepared to engage with the Tanzanian business community.
The first leg of the OSM, whose aim is to increase trade and investment between South Africa and East Africa — began on Monday in Kenya.
Last week, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the missions to the two countries will honour commitments made by President Jacob Zuma during the State visits to Kenya in October last year, and Tanzania last month to strengthen relations and explore investment and trade opportunities in the two countries.
The second leg of the Outward Selling Mission to Tanzania will conclude today.
Source: South Africa Government News Agency