President Cyril Ramaphosa says government would like to see “far greater levels of trade and investment” between South Africa and Botswana.
He was giving his closing remarks at the High Level South Africa-Botswana Business Roundtable held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre in Botswana on Thursday.
“His Excellency [Botswana] President [Mokgweetsi] Masisi and I agreed that we need to encourage business in our respective countries to invest in catalytic development projects, particularly infrastructure. It has been pleasing to have representatives of our respective state-owned companies share their perspectives on the importance of infrastructure development to our common industrialisation efforts.
“As South Africa we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting our fellow countries on the continent, including Botswana, to reach their industrialisation goals. This can be done through strategic investments into other parts of the continent by our companies, financial institutions and state-owned companies,” he said.
The roundtable was attended by the President, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel and South African business leaders and captains of industry.
“This Business Roundtable has been a good starting point for us to begin strategising and aligning our efforts in pursuit of common prosperity, greater reciprocal trade and much higher levels of investment.
“I am extremely pleased it has gone well and we look forward to the reports of our respective officials on the progress of the various initiatives we have agreed on today,” President Ramaphosa said.
Reflecting on the discussions, President Ramaphosa said major emphasis was placed on the operationalisation of the AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area and the common plan in place for the two countries and Southern Africa.
“We expressed confidence at the work being done around creating industrial value chains in SACU (Southern African Customs Union), which would have great benefits for our respective economies. We see great potential in leather and leather products, fresh produce, meat and meat products, textiles, clothing, cosmetics and essential oils.
“As Botswana and South Africa, we have agreed that our respective economies stand to gain substantially from the development of these value chains,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za