Friday, March 26, 2010

Republic of South Africa President Jacob Zuma Addresses the Business Forum in Uganda

Zuma: Address by the South African President, to the South
Africa/Uganda Business Forum, Kampala, Uganda

Date: 25/03/2010
Source: The South African Presidency

Your Excellency Mr President
Ministers and deputy ministers
Ambassadors and high commissioners
The business delegations of South Africa and Uganda

Distinguished guests

It is a great honour for me to represent the people of South Africa at this important occasion, where we celebrate the warm and fraternal relations between our two countries through a state visit. We once again express, Your Excellency, our heartfelt gratitude for the hospitality and warmth with which my delegation and I have been received, including the business delegation.

In this particular forum, we gather to appreciate and encourage the positive economic activity between our two countries, which shows a lot of potential. These relations do not come as a surprise, since the bond between our two countries and peoples is deeply rooted in our history against social injustice and our quest for freedom and equality.

We meet at this forum, not only to reaffirm this bond, but also to consolidate our ever growing trade and economic relations. Our solidarity during the struggle for liberation must translate into tangible economic ties and trade relations.

We already have vehicles that we can use to achieve these goals.

Our two countries have concluded several bilateral agreements in the economic sphere. These include the bilateral trade agreement, the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment agreement, the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes and incomes.

Furthermore, we established a Joint Permanent Economic Commission in December 2005. These have been important mechanisms that demonstrate the level and extent of our commitments to each other to promote mutual development.

Already trade relations are sound, and show a lot of potential for further growth. We therefore thank you for welcoming South African investors to contribute to the growing economic activity that is evident in the Republic of Uganda.

We recognise that South Africans are among the top contributors to foreign direct investment flows to Uganda, and South Africa is firmly entrenched near the top of the list of countries from which Uganda sources imports. We further appreciate the extent of investment that the South African private sector is making in the strategic sectors of your economy.

The participation of South African companies in such sectors as finance, telecommunications, retail and agriculture, has undoubtedly given deeper substance to the historical bond we share. The mining, oil and refining of petroleum sector with the discovery of oil in the Lake Albert region also provides new areas of business. We wish you well with this discovery, as it will certainly boost the economy.

Ladies and gentlemen, expanding economic links will promote intra-Africa trade and investment and lay the basis for closer political and economic cooperation in line with our shared commitment to regional economic integration. Ours must be a development partnership for integration.

Our modest successes have largely been the product of hard work across all areas of our bilateral cooperation. We observe progress in trade, investment and cooperation in science and technology. We strongly believe that we have covered much ground under our framework bilateral agreements.

However, much more can still be achieved. Our belief is that the scope for further advances in our bilateral relations is still possible.

The engagement between our private sectors in this business forum, must lead to the discovery of new trade and investment opportunities for our businesses.

We should seriously consider new linkages and joint ventures in key sectors like energy, agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure development, tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), technology transfer, and mining, alongside other priority sectors identified by Ugandans to promote economic development.

There is much more that can be done in such areas as revenue services as well as financing small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) through collaboration between the Uganda Development Bank and South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation.

There are also opportunities of collaboration on technical standards between the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the South African Bureau of Standards; and technology collaboration between the Uganda Industrial Research Institute and our Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. All these establish a basis to build our economies and enhance our trade and investment relations, and we must pursue this collaboration.

Your Excellency, we must move towards the full implementation of our trade agreement by establishing without delay, the agreed joint trade committee. This will further increase investment flows by promoting and encouraging joint ventures and partnerships. Such trade committee will potentially strengthen linkages between our private sectors, and foster rural development.

At a private sector level, we must encourage business to look at a possibility of establishing a joint business council, as a platform to collaborate and promote further trade and investments. Our two countries are both strongly committed to contributing to the development of our continent. Indeed, our destinies are inextricably linked to our neighbours and the rest of the continent.

Your Excellency, the challenge that the global economic downturn and slow progress in the conclusion of Doha Development Round has brought about, calls on us as the developing world, to work together in innovative ways to advance an alternative world economic order that support our development.

We need to advance towards the realisation of the objectives we agreed to, as set out in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tripartite summit. This will require that we ensure that tripartite summit decisions and the roadmap are fully and timeously implemented. A more integrated and economically organised Africa is good for our collective economies and livelihood of our peoples.

Your Excellency, we are doing all this work for one goal; to ensure that we create a better quality of life for all our people. In that regard, I hereby reaffirm South Africa's commitment to the deepening of our bilateral economic relations. We want to see progress in trade relations, and will encourage our business people in that direction.

Let me conclude by reminding all delegates to this seminar that they are most welcome to attend the greatest soccer spectacular the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup! Let us prove to the world that Africa is capable of hosting such a massive tournament.

I thank you.

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