The South African Chamber of Commerce in the UK welcomes the statement made by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on her visit to South Africa this week. The Chamber aims to play a significant role as a ‘partner for opportunity’ in strengthening post Brexit trade with Britain by facilitating substantive trade agreements.
Following May’s announcement that the British government would invest £4 billion (R73bn) in African economies, the Chamber will support successful delivery of this investment, highlighting South Africa as a gateway for trade in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is in line with May’s announcement that Britain will carry over the EU’s current Economic Partnership Agreements with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa.
Chantelé Carrington, COO of PwC Africa Business Group and Director of the Chamber, said: “The UK Prime Minister has stated that small businesses are the backbone of the UK; and that post Brexit, there will be new opportunities for UK SMEs to open up new ventures and trading links in South Africa. This will be mutually beneficial as it will enable sustainable jobs and therefore play a key role in the growth of both economies.”
The Chamber is uniquely positioned to facilitate SMEs in the building of export links with South Africa, unpacking the regulatory framework and offering strategic operational support.
The SA Chamber of Commerce business model will tailor the best solutions for companies looking to trade with or invest in SA. This will ensure a positive UK company experience by facilitating a faster turnaround time and ensuring a more sustainable and profitable entry to market.
In doing so, the Chamber is committed to furthering the Prime Minister’s goal of the UK becoming the G7’s leading investor in Africa by 2022 whilst simultaneously supporting the delivery of more jobs for South Africans and further promoting the growth of one of Africa’s largest economies.
“The Chamber has recently initiated conversations with the two respective heads of state to facilitate sharing of ideas, solutions and support”, said Mike Miller, a founding member and Director of the SA Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
The Chamber is already planning two seminars; one on oil and gas the other on mining, as they are two of the largest value import markets for South Africa. These events will take place in London later this year. Admittance will be by invitation but the Chamber welcomes requests from companies in these sectors for further information.
Dennis Zietsman, Chairman of the South African company, Servest, in the UK, sums up the reciprocal value of the long trading relationship between the two countries, “Both countries have a lot to offer each other from a business point of view as SA is amongst some of the world leaders in its governance framework and UK businesses have the experience in operating in a highly competitive environment.”
The SA Chamber will support opportunities for South African SME’s to access the export market to the UK. Sharon Constançon, chairman of the SA Chamber, said: “The export flow of trade is critical to South Africa’s sustainable growth, job creation and current account equilibrium.” Growing bilateral trade will substantially benefit both nations.