Address by President Jacob Zuma at the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum Meeting, on the occasion of the State Visit by His Excellency, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Royal Elephant Hotel, Pretoria, 19 July 2011
Your Excellency, President Jakaya Kikwete;
Minister Rob Davies;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Leadership of the South Africa and Tanzanian Business
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Let me extend a warm welcome again to His Excellency President Kikwete and his delegation, especially the business community of Tanzania who have made this trip to our country during this historic visit.
We are pleased to host our brothers and sisters from Tanzania given the historical ties between the two countries. We are essentially one people.
As you are aware, South Africa and Tanzania have a long standing relationship, dating back to the years preceding South Africa's democracy, where Tanzania supported us in the struggle against Apartheid.
We remember fondly the solidarity and unwavering support we received from the people of Tanzania.
We therefore share a sense of kinship with the people of Tanzania.
The basis of South Africa's and Tanzania's formal relations was formed by the signing of the General Cooperation Agreement between President Mandela and President Mwinyi in 1995.
The relations between South Africa and Tanzania have been very fruitful ever since. We are working hard to translate the close political and economic ties that exist between the two countries for mutual economic development.
Our relations today hold significant promise for the growth of economic relations and co-operation in key economic areas, informed by shared socio-economic and developmental challenges.
Tanzania is a member of both the East African Community (EAC) and of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
As the possibility of an integrated market between SADC, the EAC 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.
Already we have strong and deep economic relations.
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.
Tanzania is South Africa's second largest trading partner in the East African Community.
Bilateral trade between the two countries currently amounts to approximately R4, 3 billion.
More than 150 South African companies operate in Tanzania, in the areas of mining, agriculture, and tourism.
Construction, manufacturing, financial services, and telecommunications have also been attracting more investment.
We thank you for the regulatory environment that makes this possible, Your Excellency.
Tanzania had been carrying out successful economic and structural reforms, which have improved economic performance and sustained growth.
These conditions make Tanzania a lucrative investment destination.
When keeping in mind that 45% of Tanzania's population is under the age of 15 years, the exceptional economic growth that Tanzania has sustained suggest that the country will have a healthy surge in consumer demand for manufactured goods in the near future. This is an opportunity that South Africa should embrace and optimize on.
South Africa has already made a marked contribution with respect to infrastructure development in Tanzania through its spatial development initiatives (SDI) programme.
Investment in the development of infrastructure will have a high rate of return as this will lead to an increase in demand for manufactured and capital equipment.
There are enormous opportunities in the development of the continent's vast resources, and the creation of critical infrastructure in roads, railways, ports and utilities.
I trust that this business session has looked at all these possibilities and opportunities.
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.
We wish you all the best with your deliberations. Out of this session, we expect to see further growth in the economic ties between our two countries.
I thank you.