South Africa’s Ambassador to Russia has commended the work put in by government to create opportunities for local businesspeople.
Speaking at South Africa’s national pavilion at the World Food Moscow international expo in Russia, Nomasonto Sibanda-Thusi said the two countries need to redouble efforts to showcase their respective offerings.
“South Africa is endowed with capabilities and has a lot to offer to the Russian market and the world at large, we just need to double our efforts in showcasing these offerings and opening up the markets for businesses. It is important for our products be seen and recognised in these trade exhibitions and together we can make sure they are,” said the Ambassador on Thursday.
A South African business delegation, through funding of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), is participating in the exhibition, which started on Monday.
Sibanda-Thusi said she was impressed with the hard work by the South African government to increase trade with the Russia. However, she said much needs to be done through collaboration and cooperation between all spheres of government and the business fraternity. This would yield positive results through increased trade, the creation of much-needed jobs and subsequently change the lives of the majority in South Africa, Sibanda-Thusi said.
The Ambassador said trade opportunities in all the Russian regions were abundant for South Africa businesses. She mentioned areas like the far east region of Vladivostok, near the borders of China and North Korea, where South African business can look for opportunities.
She urged businesses to be strategic, understand the market and be creative when taking advantage of this untapped market.
She said South African participation in the World Food Moscow International Exhibition says a lot about where South Africa wants to go with Russia.
“Russia is important to our country and businesspeople must take advantage of the good relations that we have ploughed for them,” she said.
The participation of the 20-member delegation to the exhibition is through the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme, with the aim of increasing exports of South African manufactured products to Russia.
The objective of the scheme is to develop export markets for South African products and services and recruit new foreign direct investment into the country.
The exhibition is an annual event held in Moscow. It is a platform for South Africa to showcase the country’s products to a significant number of wholesalers, distributors, retailers and restaurateurs.
Total trade between South Africa and Russia increased from R5 billion in 2012 to almost R8 billion in 2016. Major South African exports include fruits and nuts, manganese ores, beverages, spirits and vinegar, wine, electrical machinery and equipment.