The latest research on agro-processing sector indicates that Africa is estimated to spend to US$50 billion on food imports this year. According to the Chief Director of Trade Invest Africa at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr John Rocha, this figure presents an opportunity that the continent cannot continue to overlook, which is to ensure that this US$50 billion accrues to African economies.
Rocha was speaking at a Trade and Investment reception that took place at the Africa Big 7 exhibition where the dti is hosting 23 South African companies from 23-25 June 2019. The reception was attended by captains of industries form Algeria, Congo, Greece, Brazil, Uruguay and Nigeria amongst others.
“We can no longer afford to lose this much-needed income and opportunity to increase trade amongst us and to build stronger developed trading partners,” said Rocha.
Rocha further said according to AfriExim Bank the current levels of Africa Intra-trade is at a low 15% and if Africa succeeds to match supply and demand by substituting global resources for African resources, it can increase intra-Africa trade to up to 38% across agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors.
Against this backdrop, Rocha said the South African government through the dti has prioritised the provision of its Export Marketing and Investment Scheme to benefit companies through exhibitions like the Africa Big 7 together with the trade missions which have an agro-processing focus.
“These efforts are part of many to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which aims to scale up the levels of intra-trade Africa and investment while we continue to nurture our trade and investment relations with other important regions of the world,” sad Rocha.
Rocha urged the business fraternity across the continent to familiarise themselves with the free trade agreement and opportunities that the agreement presents. He further said partnerships amongst governments to governments, governments to business and business to business can take business and Africa forward.
Most importantly, Rocha said Trade Invest Africa is committed to building such relations, that would benefit business and further encourage job creation. According to him, South Africa’s participation at the Africa Big 7 exhibition confirms the importance of agro-processing and commitment to move the continental and regional integration and development agenda forward.
Companies that are showcasing are funded by the dti through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) Scheme.
Africa Big 7 is the annual meeting place for food and beverage professionals across the continent who visit to source, meet and gain insight into the latest developments in the industry.
Chief Director: Trade Invest Africa, an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr John Rocha
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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