Address by Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the Nigeria South Africa Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, Lagos, Nigeria, 11 December 2003

Your Excellency, My Dear Friend, the Vice President

The President of the South Africa-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce,

Distinguished guests,

We are pleased to be interacting with you today on the occasion of your meeting, which coincides with the fifth session of the South Africa-Nigeria Binational Commission.

We have every reason to be upbeat as we meet with members of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce, given the remarkable increase in bilateral trade between out two countries. We have noted that the value of bilateral trade has continued its sharp upward curve witnessed over recent years, already totalling R3,7 billion in the period January to June 2002.

This is an indication that our respective business communities have taken the relationship between our two countries to heart.

Since the establishment of the Chamber of Commerce in Abuja in 2001, we have noted increased interaction.

This has included an exchange in industry visits to the two countries, the encouragement of participation of the private sector in both countries in trade exhibitions, seminars and other activities, as well as lobbying on behalf of business on issues which impact on the business environment in both countries.

The importance of participation of business in the encouragement of trade between the two countries cannot be over-emphasises.

We have always emphasised the need for Africans to increase the amount of business they do with each other, and for us to begin to invest within the continent. I am pleased that our business community has taken the message to heart.

My dear brother, Mr Vice President, I am also pleased at the growing presence of South African companies and parastatals in Nigeria after just over four years since the democratic transition.

They have become involved in the following sectors: defence, telecommunications, transportation and aviation, entertainment, water and electricity, minerals and energy, banking, hospitality and publishing. The presence of these companies in Nigeria, especially since 2000, has had a substantial impact on the sharp rise in the value of South African exports to this country.

Abundant opportunities exist for joint ventures in areas such as agriculture, minerals and energy, the defence industry, infrastructure development, telecommunications and broadcasting. South African businesses are ready and willing to engage their Nigerian counterparts in this regard. We urge the business community in both countries to continue working together to bring to life the objectives of the new Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in relation to the increase in economic activity within the continent, and working towards sustainable development and economic growth.

We wish you well in all your projects and activities. We acknowledge and applaud your contribution to the economic development of the continent.

It is my pleasure to join my dear brother and friend, the Vice President, in declaring this meeting of the Chamber officially open.

I thank you.

Issued by The Presidency, 11 December 2003

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