SA to market itself in the US

Monday, February 18, 2019

Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe is set to highlight trade and investment opportunities in South Africa at the 22nd Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit in New York.

Magwanishe is expected to outline trade and investment opportunities at the summit that gets underway in the United States on Tuesday.

Globally, the US accounts for 7% of South Africa’s total exports to the world and is ranked second as an export destination for South African export products in 2018.

“Bilateral trade between South Africa and the US has shown tremendous growth in the past few years. Total trade has increased from R141 billion in 2014 to R161 billion in 2017 but declined slightly to R157 billion in 2018,” said Magwanishe.

Bilateral trade between the US and South Africa is almost balanced with South Africa mostly enjoying a trade surplus against the US mainly due to exports of primary products and commodities.

However, Magwanishe said in terms of manufactured exports, the US continues to enjoy a trade surplus.

The Deputy Minister said the US remains as one of the key sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for South Africa, with bilateral investments at approximately R2.2 trillion in 2016.

In addition, there are about 800 US companies doing business in South Africa with an increasing number of South African companies also investing in the US.

Of the $4.2 billion foreign direct investment stock in the USA from Sub-Saharan African, $3.1 billion originated from South Africa.

The three-day summit, which concludes on Friday, will focus on how to expand wealth opportunities; supplier diversity opportunities; and diversity and inclusion for minorities and women.

It will bring together entrepreneurs, corporate executives and leading US members of Congress. Speakers at the summit include the host, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressmen Emanuel Cleaver and Gregory Meeks as well as Reverend Al Sharpton, among others.

The summit will be held under the theme: “400 Years Later: Closing the Wealth Gap, Expanding Opportunity”. 

Market access through the AfCFTA

While in the US, Magwanishe will also meet with existing and potential investors into South Africa that are looking to take advantage of the market access created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Last week, on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Cyril Ramaphosa handed over South Africa’s deposit of instruments on the ratification of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA, as one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, aims to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over one billion people with a combined GDP of approximately US$3.3 trillion. -