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South Africa seeks stronger trade cooperation with Jordan

By JT - May 18,2016 - Last updated at May 18,2016

AMMAN — South Africa and Jordan should work to increase the flow of trade between them, a top South African official said on Tuesday.  

Speaking at a seminar on South Africa's economy and trade that was hosted by the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, South Africa's Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nomaindiya Mfeketo said it is important that Jordan and South Africa work to improve trade relations and increase the flow of trade between them. 

"The South African government wants to introduce South Africa to you as a potential trading partner, as a potential investment partner, as a partner that can offer Jordan an alternative to traditional trading partners, and as a reliable partner that can offer fairly balanced trade,” she told the attendees at the seminar, comprising Jordanian businessmen, industrialists and concerned officials.   

South Africa works to ensure a trading system that allows developing countries and middle-income countries, such as South Africa and Jordan, to have the chance to grow their local industries, their national economies and their trading footprint without being overwhelmed by the larger economies of the world, she explained. 

"Balanced trade is a key goal of the South Africa government," she told the gathering.

South Africa and Jordan are similar in many ways. They are upper middle-income countries that are still developing. They are also young democracies that have a young population which requires the creation of economic opportunities and sustainable employment, she pointed out

"Trade is thus important as it contributes to government revenue, economic growth, and job creation."

Political and trade cooperation between countries of the South is a priority for South Africa. With this in mind, and while maintaining strong trading ties with traditional partners in Europe and Southern Africa, the government has recently moved to diversify South Africa’s trade with the world, she pointed out, noting that this has resulted in positive growth in Asia, in particular, and also in South America.

Over the past 10 years, South Africa's trade with Asian countries such as China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam has increased by up to 300 per cent, however, trade growth with the Middle East has remained at lower levels, she conceded. 

"This is a situation that South African business, in coordination with government, needs to address," she stressed.

Although it is known for its mineral and agricultural products, South Africa actually has a diverse economy, that has been transformed into a manufacturing and service-based economy with the service sector contributing two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) while the mining and agricultural sectors now contribute far less to the GDP, she told the gathering, highlighting the importance of making use of potential business cooperation.

Agro-processing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufactured goods, financial services, and mineral processing are promising sectors that the Middle East region can avail on, she said, noting that these are areas that Jordanian business persons should target. 


"Jordan can act as a gateway for South Africa into the Levant and into the Middle East. South Africa can act as a gate-way into Southern Africa – a market of 200 million," she noted.

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