SA and Tanzania must expand economic relations

Pretoria - South Africa and Tanzania must capitalise on the mutual trade opportunities that exist in order to grow their economic relations, says President Jacob Zuma.

“We have agreed with His Excellency [President John Magufuli] that we need to expand relations further between the two countries, especially economic cooperation, so that our people can reap the benefits of these historic relations,”  President Zuma said on Thursday.

Addressing a South Africa-Tanzania business forum in Dar Es Salaam, President Zuma said relations between the two countries date back to South Africa’s liberation struggle, when Tanzania stood with the South African people against apartheid.

Over 200 South African companies are investing in Tanzania across a wide spectrum of sectors.

“There are further opportunities as well within the infrastructure arena, including roads, as well as agro-processing, minerals beneficiation, information and communication technologies, tourism, energy, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas and the financial services sector,” said President Zuma.

The President urged the business sector to explore these areas further. He called on South African companies to invest in Tanzania.

“I think this is an important call that I encourage all of you to heed. South Africa is particularly going big on infrastructure development.”

South Africa’s domestic investments include the construction of ports, roads and railway systems as a path to stimulate economic growth and to link the country to its neighbours in Southern Africa and the rest of African continent.

“While we welcome the growing trends on our bilateral trade, we should also note that a concentration on commodities is not sustainable. The recent drop in commodity prices has shown that governments cannot rely on commodity rents as an engine of growth and development,” said the President.

President Zuma said Africa’s heavy reliance on commodities has the potential to be disruptive and destabilise the two countries’ economies.

“It also does not create sufficient quality jobs to lift large segments of the population out of poverty,” he said, adding that the time has come to intensify production and the trade of intermediate and final consumer products.

Speaking of the recent Inaugural South Africa-Tanzania Bi-National Commission (BNC), President Zuma said progress has already been made in several areas including environmental affairs, defence cooperation and trade, among others.

To make further progress, it is imperative that the two countries work together to eliminate market restrictive measures.

“As governments, the onus is upon us to assist our business sector by dealing with the tariff and non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder trade between our two countries.”

President Zuma, accompanied by six Ministers, arrived in the east African country on Wednesday night for a State visit. – SAnews.gov.za