South Africa forays into SLSeptember 9, 2012, 7:53 pm
South Africa, Sri Lanka’s leading trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa and the third most competitive economy in the US$ 13.7 trillion BRICS grouping, is making an unprecedented investment foray in to resurgent Sri Lanka-with no less than a US$ 122 million initial investment –and scheduling yet another strong business delegation to SL next," the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
"I am pleased to announce that SAPOA, South African Property Owners’ Association, the biggest South African property owner only second to the Government of South Africa, is coming to Sri Lanka in 2013 February/March. In South Africa, they are the people with money in real estate and properties," said Geoff Doidge, High Commissioner of South Africa in Colombo on 07 September.
This delegation is the largest South African business and industry delegation to visit Sri Lanka in the recent trade history and it consisted of 30 leading business members of the powerful Progressive Business Forum of African National Congress (ANC-PBF), the ruling ANC’s business collective. The delegation was led by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize, and accompanied by Renier Schoeman, core convenor of ANC-PBF (and also the former Deputy Foreign Minister), a press communiqué from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
Doidge said: "SAPOA mulling huge ‘initial investment’ here. It is tentatively in the overall range of South African Rand one billion ($ 122 Mn) with a medium and long term in Sri Lanka."
Hlengiwe Mkhize, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development was upbeat on the success of her mission to Colombo. "This has been powerful. Our private sector representatives are talking seriously with Sri Lankan businesses. Cooperation in engineering, manufacturing, trade in general. I am quite happy. We are focusing on investments in infrastructure, water, and energy. Sri Lanka is our entrance mechanism to Asia. South Africa and Sri Lanka share cultural ties, spices, foods and even certain values with people of Asian origin in South Africa. I am pleased to inform you that a second business delegation from South Africa is coming soon. That second business delegation will have a thrust (focus) of women with many leading SA women biz representatives including from the ANC-PBF".
Madoda Khuzwayo, international thought leader and visionary founder CEO of South Africa’s mynextmail.com, said: "I am amazed at opportunities in Sri Lanka’s IT sector. Yes, I want to set up here very much and this is our entry point to the whole of Asia. I am excited by India-Sri Lanka and Pakistan-Sri Lanka FTAs also. I believe there are huge gains for us in cloud computing in the sub continental South Asia as part of overall entry to Asia." Khuzwayo however, did not quote any initials investment values nor revealed mynextmail.com annual turnover numbers–"We are working on it at this moment" he said. Dennis Classen, COO, Red Ant Securities Ltd ($ 60 Mn annual revenues), whose firm specialises in ‘specific government assistance in relocation and resettlement of people, including IDPs,’ said: "We are initially looking at a different type of investment here-in that, the dairy sector with $ 2 Mn outlay. I am looking to start livestock farming in Northern Province by bringing 1000 head of cattle from South Africa. I am also looking to develop large scale ranch and a wild animal-park in Sri Lanka for adventure tourists by the introduction of selected South African wildlife here" Classen revealed.
Cyril Zwaine (Chairman, Boffin & Fundi-$ 55 Mn annual turnover), said: "We are highly excited by what we see in Sri Lanka. I am looking to invest in large scale water, irrigation, pipes and sewerage projects at our earliest. I also see strong potential in agro irrigation in northern province on which we are interested in partnering with a suitable local partner."
The SA delegation undertook a one-day tour of the Northern province facilitated by the government of Sri Lanka, and it stood in amazement seeing the fertile soil conditions of Northern Province and especially, of Jaffna peninsula. Several SA business reps readily expressed their keen interest to enter agriculture and farming sectors in Jaffna peninsula in large scale. "We see enormous opportunities to develop agriculture in northern province and Jaffna peninsula its agro potential is very high. We strongly recommend pivot irrigation systems to overcome region-wide drought problems in northern areas. SA is expert in such large scale irrigation systems," said representatives from Pretoria based TMA Trading which specialises in cable & electrical products and large scale agriculture and pivot irrigation projects as well as Boffin & Fundi. "We are ready to invest and partner with a suitable Lankan firm to reap from northern agro sector," they revealed.
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