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South Africa calls on Turkish business world to strengthen trade, investment ties | Africa

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South Africa’s trade minister called for the development of investment and trade relations with members of the Turkish business world seeking to expand to Africa.

Speaking to Anadolu, Ebrahim Patel stressed the vital importance of commercial relations between the two countries.

A member of the BRICS countries alongside Brazil, Russia, India, and China, as well as the G20, South Africa is among the leading economies in Africa with its robust financial infrastructure and advanced mining sector.

South Africa is home to the continent’s 10 largest companies.

– ‘Right address’ for large Turkish companies

Patel underlined that Türkiye is an important economy located in a very strategic region of the world, with a large population, and that South Africa is the industrial center of sub-Saharan Africa and the industrial base of the continent.

Saying that this situation makes the two countries strong partners, he highlighted that Turkish companies already have serious investments and production centers in South Africa.

Patel emphasized that Türkiye has a tremendous industrial capacity and that South Africa stands as the right address for Turkish companies seeking to expand to other parts of the world.

He said the African continent is growing rapidly in terms of its population, which will double by 2050 and surpass those of China and India, noting the significance for small investors to come early to South Africa to be part of this growth, alluding to Turkish companies.

– Bilateral trade volume contracted in 2023

Ilker Eralp, a commercial counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria, noted that Türkiye-South Africa bilateral trade volume, which hit a record by reaching $3.3 billion in 2022, declined to $1.95 billion as of last year.

Eralp said global developments, the low growth of the South African economy, and the earthquake disaster that occurred in Türkiye last year had an impact on this contraction.

There has been a significant rise in the number of trade delegations from Türkiye, Eralp stressed, and said trade with South Africa, which is on the Turkish Trade Ministry’s list of target and priority countries, has significant advantages in terms of incentives.

As of 2023, Türkiye exported petroleum products, machinery, white goods, automotive parts, and home textile products to South Africa, and imported products such as coal, gold, chromium, manganese, automotive parts, and camera lenses from the country, he added.

Pretoria, with the strongest financial institutions on the continent, continues to be the gateway to Africa for Turkish companies and is the most important trade partner in the sub-Saharan region, Eralp said, recommending that Turkish companies “closely follow the tenders for green energy, infrastructure, and transmission lines to be announced in 2024.”

– Tips for doing business in South Africa

Abubekir Salim, head of the Türkiye-South Africa Business Council of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, said South Africa always welcomes Türkiye as their second home.

Salim said South Africa is a country where it is not difficult to do business, but it takes a certain amount of time, where results are not obtained very quickly, but when they are obtained, continuity is formed.

The bilateral trade figures are below where they should be, he added.

– South Africa’s door wide open for Turks’

South African businessman Kashif Wicomb underscored that there are strong cultural relations between Türkiye and South Africa, noting that especially as South African Muslims, they have a special sympathy for Türkiye.

Emphasizing that South Africa’s door is wide open to Turks, Wicomb expressed his desire to see more Turkish products in South Africa and more South African products in Türkiye.

Turkish businessman Nejdet Tiskaoglu said they are happy to employ more than 200 people with their investments in South Africa, where they have been operating for about seven years, adding that they aim to expand their investments here.

He stressed that the slow progress of bureaucratic processes is one of the main difficulties encountered in terms of investment in the country.

Citing gaps in incentives, Tiskaoglu said: “South Africa now needs to pave the way for foreign investors so that when they come, they can bring others.”

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