Johannesburg - The Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA) is moving swiftly to take up some of the opportunities created by President Jacob Zuma's recent state visit to Brazil.
During the visit, President Zuma and his Brazilian counterpart President Lula Da Silva witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade and the South African Department of Trade and Industry for the promotion of trade and investment.
The MoU will see the development of an implementation plan that will focus on how trade and investment initiatives will be structured to benefit both countries.
With Gauteng accounting for over 40 percent of the national GDP and a major role player in the country's drive to attract foreign direct investment, the visit and some of the opportunities identified came at the right time as the province was finalizing its Employment, Growth and Development Strategy.
"We have been doing extensive work as the agency in Brazil with special focus on pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, creative industries in particular fashion and football and the signing of this high level agreement assists us to align our work with the national strategy and targets," says GEDA spokesperson Barba Gaoganediwe.
"With the two countries also signing a sports cooperation agreement, the stage is set for us to explore concrete business opportunities related to the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and the 2016 summer Olympics games which will take place in Rio de Janeiro."
GEDA's main objective with this work is to secure mutually beneficial business and investment opportunities across the two countries.
Currently it is still very difficult for South African companies to do business in Brazil and GEDA hopes that with this intervention the situation will improve.
"As the agency we would also like to increase the numbers of Brazilian companies doing business in our country," said Gaoganediwe.
The current deficit is in favour of Brazil at a ratio of 4:1.
For every four companies investing in doing business with Brazil only one Brazilian company is investing in doing business with SA. While Gauteng has been a perfect business destination for the likes of Marco Polo, Oboticario, Ole' football academy, to name but a few.
Earlier this year, Gauteng and Brasilia cooperated in hosting the inaugural Brasilia Soccerex forum, a smaller version of the big football business to business expo that has been taking place in Gauteng-Johannesburg over the past two years.
"We are expecting over 400 Brazilian tour operators, trade and investments and sports business delegation from major Brazilian states with a cumulative investment and business development budget of over $47.1billion to attend and make business at Soccerex in Johannesburg this November," Gaoganediwe said.
Gaoganediwe says they are working with the provincial Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation and Gauteng Tourism. "We are also working with the state of Sao Paulo in collaborating fashion promotion activities and plans are in an advanced stage for the hosting of the Sao Paulo-Gauteng fashion extravaganza featuring other countries of the South just before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."