South Africa calls for increased intra-African trade

In preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the African continent to strategically position itself by developing its human capital and promoting intra-African trade.

“We have at our disposal an abundance of natural and human resources that can be developed and harnessed to put Africa on a path of sustainable economic development,” said President Ramaphosa on Thursday.

Speaking at the State Banquet during the State Visit of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Tshwane, President Ramaphosa said the continent must embrace and participate meaningfully in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The continent, said the President, must develop its human capital capability while benefiting the continent’s natural resources.

President Ramaphosa said while the continent must support initiatives to attract foreign direct investment to its shores, more must be done to promote intra-Africa trade and investment.

“As South Africa, we firmly support the African Continental Free Trade Area and believe that through this important instrument, we can work together in accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market,” he said.

The President’s remarks come as the two nations work to strengthen their strategic bilateral relations.

“We further committed ourselves to working together to enhance close political, economic and social cooperation, in keeping with our mutual desire to establish a special relationship between the two countries,” said the President.

The State Visit coincided with the first session of the Bi-national Commission presided over at Heads of State level.

During the Commission, the two Presidents took note of the 32 signed agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), and committed themselves to ensuring that those which are in force are fully implemented. Those that are yet to come into force will be revived.

Both Presidents noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments.

The two leaders further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment. The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.

The inaugural meeting of the Council is expected to be held no later than April 2020 in Abuja.