The High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago in South Africa and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) hosted a Trade and Invest Symposium in Johannesburg. These two islands, one named Trinidad and the other Tobago, is a Democratic Republic in the Caribbean. It is home to 1.3million people and 24 hours in flight travel time away from Africa.
Trinidad and Tobago is the 7th largest exporter of Liquid Natural Gas in the world and the largest producer/exporter of methanol and ammonia. It is famous for inventing the world-famous Steelpan musical instrument and home to one of the greatest Carnivals in the world.
The symposium was attended by key stakeholders across the business spectrum including traders, manufacturers, tour operators and the energy sector and coincides with the 50 years of independence of Trinidad and Tobago.
After an invocation by Reverend Alan Cameron, High Commissioner Harry Partap of Trinidad and Tobago to South Africa welcomed guests to the symposium and introduced the speakers. Chair of the symposium and CEO of SACCI, Neren Rau, in his remarks said that SACCI was the largest business chamber in South Africa comprising of over 20 000 members. He also spoke of the areas in which potential business opportunties exist between the two countries.
The keynote speaker, Professor Gillian Marcelle of the Wits Business school addressed the syposium on Deepening connections and securing value: Trade and investment opportunities between South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago. Prof. Marcelle pointed out several significant factors considering trade and investment between the two countries. The Caribbean, she said is associated with the sun, sea, sand and fun loving people and one needs to get over this association before getting down to boardroom discussions. The size and geographic distances between the two countries are also factors to consider for potential investors and these factors lend themselves to innovation.
The Bela Bela Carnival which was hosted in Limpopo Province is a successful collaboration between the High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, Dare2discover and the Bela Bela municipality and has established an exciting and dynamic platform for the interaction between the peoples of the two countries and has also laid a foundation for job creation and entrepreneurship in the cultural industries.
Tourism was another key focus for the symposium.