South Africa is more than ready to engage with the CII India Business Forum (IBF) and relevant local ministries to further expand bilateral cooperation, a senior minister said on Sunday, praising Indian businesses for supporting the trajectory growth of the country.
South Africa has proposed a joint task force between the IBF and relevant local ministries to further expand the cooperation that already exists between the two countries.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, made the call in his address to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the IBF, an association of over 100 Indian companies operating in South Africa.
I must state at the outset that as minister and in my two departments, we are more than ready to engage further in this forum for mutual benefit, Nzimande said.
We propose the establishment of a joint task force to work out the details of our future partnership, he added.
The minister said the IBF meeting comes at a time when the South African government and businesses need to foster strong partnerships in order to grow the economy and create jobs.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the forum and the Indian companies which since 1996 have invested over $100 billion in the South African economy in the pharmaceutical, IT and automotive sectors, he said. .
As the South African government, we are pleased with your commitment to supporting our country on its development trajectory and we look forward to more partnerships with you in the future, he said.
I would like to commend the seminal role played by India in opposing and isolating the apartheid state since the 1960s. India’s distinguished role in this regard has been recognized by former President of the Nelson Mandela state, Nzimande said.
The minister asked Indian companies to consider placing some of the thousands of young college graduates in apprenticeship positions.
Nzimande highlighted a wide range of opportunities for the IBF to share some of the skills and capabilities, especially in ICT and other smart manufacturing technologies to support the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector in the country’s reindustrialization efforts.
Indian companies could participate in the co-financing of these programs in order to ensure a massive participation of South African youth. There are also opportunities to invest in South Africa’s reindustrialization efforts by helping to build South Africa’s local manufacturing capacity, he said.
Nzimande also listed a wide range of areas where India and South Africa were already achieving joint successes, including a strategic partnership for the success of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) international radio telescope project, hosted in South Africa. .
Indian scientists, including from the National Center for Radio Astrophysics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, are making crucial contributions to the software development systems supporting the SKA. This includes close cooperation with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, he said.
The SKA project is a driver for accelerated technological development in areas such as supercomputing and big data, and it offers exciting opportunities for South African and Indian companies to cooperate on the most promising technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. , did he declare.
In his closing speech, IBF President Praveer Tripathi said that after doubling its membership in Johannesburg, there were now plans to transfer the organization to the other provinces of South Africa, then in other countries of the Southern African Development Community.
Tripathi has appealed to Indian businesses in South Africa to share their success stories through the IBF website, which is being revamped.
Earlier, Tripathi said that since its inception in 2018, the organization has ably demonstrated the resilience of Indian businesses in South Africa in the face of social and economic inequality, unemployment, the Covid 19 pandemic and various other challenges.
The IBF has been tirelessly and enthusiastically playing its role in building Brand India and Brand South Africa by promoting and uniting business investment between the two countries, he said.
Going forward, we look forward to vibrant economic cooperation between India and South Africa by making the Forum an essential first window for Indian companies wishing to invest in South Africa as well as South African companies wishing to invest in India, Tripathi said.
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