South Africa has announced plans to increase the number of its foreign-based economic representatives serving in Africa.
At a joint media briefing with visiting Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in Pretoria Tuesday, President Zuma announced the plan, saying his country was “actively” working on a plan to increase the number of trade representatives throughout Africa.
South Africa has just 10 foreign-based economic representatives serving Africa’s 53 states.
In contrast, there are 14 in Europe and 11 in Asia.
President Zuma attributed the poor representation in Africa to “historical” reasons.
“Colonialism and the Cold War undermined Africa and, as a result, Africa has recognised the weakness of a lack of intra-Africa trade,” he said.
Turning to South Africa’s relations with Tanzania, President Zuma said they hold significant promise for the growth of economic relations and co-operation in key economic areas, informed by shared socio-economic and developmental challenges.
“As the possibility of an integrated market between SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) , the EAC (East Africa Community) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is becoming a near-future reality, it is important that our two countries continue to maintain relations that are as strong and as healthy as we do,” he said.
Zuma noted that the Agreement on Reciprocal Protection and Promotion of Investments, which was signed during the Presidential Economic Commission meeting in 2005, aims to encourage new South African investments towards Tanzania.
“Our role as government is to create the correct and enabling environment for you to do business. We are doing so, as envisaged by these strong fraternal ties between the two countries. We urge you to take advantage of these opportunities. Let us work together to grow the two economic and create much needed job opportunities and a better life for all our peoples,” he added.
Kikwete’s two-day official visit, which ends Wednesday, is aimed at increasing bilateral trade between the two countries.
Two-way trade between the countries reached US$1.2 billion last year and there are 120 South African companies operating in Tanzania, with a total investment portfolio of US$592 million.