Africa the next frontier: Zuma
20 October 2010
The developing world is poised to play a key role in shaping the new world order, President Jacob Zuma told the South Africa-Egypt Business Forum in Cairo on Tuesday. "After Asia and Latin America, Africa is the next zone of economic growth and development."
Zuma is on a two-day state visit to Egypt, the first by a South African head of state since the country's first democratic elections in 1994.
It was estimated that the market size of the developing world would be larger than the developed world by as early as 2020, Zuma told the forum.
It was therefore important for developing nations to trade among each other, in addition to trading with the developed North.
South Africa and Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Co-operation in August 2009.
"The agreement should help us unlock the economic potential of the two countries through economic co-operation that includes industrial and technological co-operation, as well as the transfer of skills," Zuma said.
"Our message to you as businesspeople of the two countries is that our mission is to increase investments in each other's economies. We want greater volumes of trade, and there is lots of room to achieve this goal.
South Africa provided opportunities for trade and investments in automotive components, capital equipment, aerospace, energy, chemicals, agro-processing and ICT, among many others.
"We also urge businesspeople from both countries to make use of opportunities on the continent which will result especially from regional integration."
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement, launched in August 2008, had a registered market of 170-million people, worth US$360-billion.
On the other hand, the proposed free trade area encompassing the east African community, Comesa and the SADC – literally from Cape to Cairo – would provide a market of 700-million consumers.
"This is an indication that a lot of work is being done in practical terms to achieve renewal and economic development on the continent."
Africa was moving beyond conceptualisation and rhetoric to concrete work that would help end conflicts, alleviate and ultimately eradicate poverty, and create decent work that would improve the quality of life of all Africa's people, Zuma said.