Remarks by President Jacob Zuma on the Occasion of the Kenya-South Africa Business Forum, Nairobi, Kenya
11 October 2016
Your Excellency, President Kenyatta,
Hon Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries,
High Commissioners of our respective countries,
Members of Organised Business Formations, from South Africa and Kenya,
Our respective high commissioners and Members of the diplomatic corps,
Good afternoon to you all.
It gives me great pleasure to address this esteemed business forum of our two countries.
Let me begin by extending our appreciation of the of hospitality and warm welcome accorded to us by His Excellency, President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya.
This is a historic and significant State Visit for South Africa, which will contribute immensely to the deepening of relations between the two countries and people.
We had very fruitful and productive bilateral discussions this morning with President Kenyatta.
We are both very upbeat about the visit and believe it is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations between South Africa and Kenya.
We are writing a chapter of deeper cooperation and fraternal relations which will contribute meaningfully in lifting our peoples from the clutches of poverty and underdevelopment.
We have agreed among others to prioritise economic cooperation between our two countries. The business forum is thus important as provides an avenue to discuss this important issue, of further enhancing trade and investments between South Africa and Kenya.
At the bilateral level, our current trade totals 7.9 billion rand.
I am sure you would concur distinguished guests, that this does not reflect the true potential of our two economies.
We have a good foundation to build from. More than 60 South African companies operate in Kenya currently.
We encourage more South African businesses to consider Kenya as an investment destination, and encouraging Kenyan businesses to do likewise in South Africa.
New sources of economic growth must be enhanced, with emphasis on the agri-business, services, automotives, capital equipment, infrastructure, energy and information technology sectors.
This would require a concerted effort towards developing industrial clusters, and an adjustment of policies to ensure global competitiveness.
Initiatives to this effect are already underway through a quadrilateral arrangement between South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt, to promote industrialisation. This is a very important development for the continent.
The future also looks bright for the continent and our respective regions, given the developments such as the Tripartite Free Trade Area between SADC, the COMESA and the East African Community.
This Tripartite Free Trade Area combines the three major regional economic communities of approximately 600 million people and a combined GDP of one trillion US dollars.
For our two countries, we have a good foundation for economic growth, given the synergy between our national development plans, the Kenyan Vision 2030 and South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030.
Both aim to transform our economies into rapidly industrialised countries offering all their citizens a high quality of life.
The plans furthermore outline key infrastructure development projects including, the strengthening of electricity generation and the expansion of transport networks. This presents mutually beneficial investment opportunities.
We stand ready to work with the business sectors of the two countries on this march towards economic growth and prosperity.
Let me emphasise that in our discussions earlier we agreed on the need to create a good environment for easier movement of goods and people between the two countries.
This will contribute to promote the ease of doing business between the two countries.
This is in line with the general sentiment within the African Union, that African nations should soften their borders to promote people to people cooperation and intra-African trade.
It is also in line with the drive for regional integration in the continent.
Further discussions will be taking place between two countries on these issues of migration and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Indeed, the State Visit has gone very well thus far.
We urge you, as the business sector, to take advantage of this strategic partnership between the two economies.
I wish this Business Forum every success.
Issued by: The Presidency