South Africa, Latin America, Caribbean form economic ties
25 June 2015
Pretoria - South Africa has realised that its historical ties with Latin America and Caribbean countries are predominantly political and it is time to harness trade and investment in the already existing relations.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers hosted Heads of Missions from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean (GRULAC) in a discussion forum, in Pretoria.
The aim was to discuss how the countries can mutually benefit from each other.
The Deputy Minister envisaged in his opening remarks that the meeting will lay a strong foundation that will boost the South African economy in the future. The meeting was the first of its kind in terms of discussing economic opportunities.
During the forum, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and/or their representatives from various countries, academia and officials from DIRCO presented their interests and shared ideas on how trade and investment can develop among South Africa and other countries.
Following the discussions, DIRCO Deputy Director General for Europe and Americas, Yolisa Maya, said the main aim of the meeting was to highlight complementarities that South Africa has with GRULAC countries and work together in trading.
GRULAC countries represented in South Africa are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Guyana and Venezuela.
Maya said the basket of goods coming from South Africa and these countries, especially Latin America are quite similar, and that makes them not only friends but competitors.
“We need to form complementarities so that we can work together. They [Latin America and Caribbean] are big in mining, social programmes, rural development, youth programmes and servicing previously disadvantaged communities,” she said.
She said the drivers, who will implement what was discussed in the meeting, are business sector and entities, and that DIRCO will also organise an interdepartmental meeting with relevant departments which are responsible for government programmes relating to economy, trade and investment, and youth amongst others.
“We are now going to put our outcomes document together and analyse it. As a multi-sectoral government, we will engage our sister departments who will help go beyond forming relations with countries from abroad,” she said.
She said at a later stage, civil society and youth will also be brought on board. She said GRULAC will develop the meeting into an annual event as of next year.