South African Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel on Monday will convene a symposium of investors, workers, intellectuals and public officials with Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University whose goal is job creation.
The symposium, according to the minister, will be held on 25 May - a date the African Union (AU) Commission has declared as Africa Day - to look at the economic impact of South Africa’s relationship with the rest of Africa in view of the recent xenophobic attacks of foreign nationals from other African countries.
Patel said he would also go the road to different parts of the country to civic educate South Africans with one message that South Africa’s prosperity was intimately tied to economic relations with the rest of Africa.
He said South Africa’s efforts of economic integration with the rest of the continent were yielding success. Last year South Africa exported US$30bn worth of goods to the rest of Africa “ an increase of US$3.6bn that help to sustain thousands of South African jobs.”
“Aside from the damage that the [attacks on foreign nationals] do to our humanity, we cannot unscramble ourselves from Africa, our continent, without serious economic damage,” he said.
“Our total manufacturing, mining and agricultural exports to the rest of Africa sustained 244,000 direct jobs in South Africa, and 169,000 of these jobs were are in the manufacturing sector,” Patel added.
According to Patel, Africa is now more important for growth in manufacturing exports than Europe, the United States or China.