PRETORIA, South Africa, December 17, 2018/ — The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has arrived back in the country, following his visit to Egypt and the United Kingdom.
In Egypt Minister Davies attended the third edition of the Africa Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh that took place under the theme ‘Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: Advancing Intra-African Investments’.
Minister Davies said that the Africa Forum is important for the continent as it is in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that was launched during an Extra-Ordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Davies emphasised that the edition of Africa Forum was taking place against two key milestones.
“Firstly, as a country we have ratified the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and we will deposit the instrument of ratification during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in February 2019. Secondly, we have made a commitment towards infra-African investments by creating a dedicated programme in South Africa called Trade-Invest-Africa; as a support measure for South African companies investing in and trading with the rest of Africa,” said Minister Davies.
In Cairo Minister Davies attended the Inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) whereby he was leading more than forty business delegation operating in the agro-processing, aerospace, chemicals, clothing and textile, electro-technical, metals, mining and plastic fabrication sectors. The delegation received financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) Scheme to participate in the trade fair.
Davies told South African business people to consider the continent as an extremely important market, especially for trade in value added products. According to Minister Davies, two-thirds of South Africa’s trade are with the world, whilst a third of the trade is with the African continent.
Minister Davies also attended the 7th African Union Meeting of Ministers of Trade (AMOT) that took place alongside the inaugural Intra-Africa Trade Fair from 11-17 December 2018. The meeting considered the progress made in the negotiations of outstanding issues on trade in goods and trade in services that would ensure the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) upon entry into force.
The outcomes of the AMOT will be submitted and considered by the 32nd Session of African Union Heads of State and Government to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2019.
Still in Egypt, Minister Davies deposited the instrument of ratification of the Agreement establishing the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) on the margins of the AMOT. The instrument was received by the Chair of the Tripartite Task Force and the Secretary General of COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe, who congratulated South Africa and indicated that it was encouraging to the other countries that have already deposited their instruments. Kapwepwe said that there are an additional six countries in the process of depositing their instruments.
The TFTA comprises three regional economic blocks – the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The deposit of the instrument means that South Africa has formally and legally committed to the TFTA.
In London, Minister Davies launched the Global Business Services (GBS) Incentive at SA House. in London, United Kingdom. Davies said that the Business Process Services (BPS) industry offers South Africa the largest job creation potential across all service sectors.
Davies indicated that through a global benchmark study and investor engagements, the dti has been able to present a revised Global Business Services incentive. Minister Davies stated that the highlights of the revised are a 3 tier incentive program and a reduction in the minimum criteria of jobs.
“The key components of the GBS incentive include a 3 tier incentive program which includes a non-complex job, medium complexity job and high complexity job, with an increase in value across all 3 tiers. A further change includes a reduction in the minimum criteria of 50 jobs across all levels of work to a minimum of 30 jobs for medium to high complexity jobs. To ensure that South Africa delivers the best quality services at the right price, the eligibility criteria was amended to include a minimum salary threshold of R60,000 per annum for entry level agent roles,” said Minister Davies.
the dti has partnered with industry to develop a compelling value proposition to investors which will support governments objectives of job creation within South Africa, primarily for youth and increase export revenue.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.