Coronavirus – South Africa: COVID-19 Pandemic has deepened need for strategic partnership between State and Business – Ambassador Xingwana
The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Lulu Xingwana, says the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic has deepened the need for strategic partnership between state and private sector. She was addressing a South Africa-Ghana Trade and Investment Webinar today. The webinar was hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) under the theme Developing Afrocentric Solutions and Forging Partnership in Response to Covid-19.
“Today’s seminar takes place in very different circumstances as the one we held earlier this year in February just before the virus was declared a pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted global economic activity, created uncertainty, and weakened global growth conditions. Our respective economies have not been sparred as real Gross Domestic Product growth rates are projected to fall. The scale of this COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the need for strategic partnership between state and non-state actors, especially the private sector,” said Xingwana
She added that the great news was that Covid-19 would one day end where people and families, small and big businesses, and local and national economies, will have to recover and rebuild.
“This therefore requires all of us to focus our energies on developing economic recovery strategies post-Covid-19. We have noticed that our countries have commenced a trajectory of gradually easing down some restrictive measures to achieve a balance between saving lives and the economy. I strongly urge all business to heed the clarion call by our leaders to collaborate in developing a wider economic recovery and reconstruction plan. This should embrace inclusion of investment in infrastructure-driven growth, through building of bridges, roads, clinics, and renewable energy plants, and bring more young people into jobs; as well as greater use of locally made inputs of steel, cement and machinery,” added Xingwana.
She noted that the revival of the SA and Ghanaian economies was in the hands of both the private sectors and governments of the two countries as they prepare for the stimulation of the inter-continental trade through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), scheduled to start early 2021.
“I wish to encourage the business community to seize the unimaginable opportunities to be facilitated by the AfCFTA implementation. I strongly urge all business to heed the clarion call by our leaders to collaborate in developing a wider economic recovery and reconstruction,” urged Xingwana.
She said she was buoyed by the R42 billion total trade between South Africa and Ghana of over the past five years ending 2019.
“There are over 132 South African Companies registered in Ghana employing more than 19 000 Ghanaians and 510 expatriates. Over the past ten years, South African companies have undertaken over 167 projects in Ghana valued in excess of $1 billion in capital investments. The shared growth between the two countries should focus on industrialisation driven by value-addition of the productive sectors of the economy as well as skills development for the economies,” concluded Xingwana.
The two-day webinar continues tomorrow and will focus on investment opportunities available in both the South African-Ghanaian economies for businesspeople from the two countries to explore.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, South Africa.
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