As part of our programme of CEO Engagements, Accelerate Cape Town launched a series of Foreign Office Lunches in 2016. In an effort to strengthen our trade relations with key countries and provide greater opportunities for our members, we are forging stronger relationships with the economic development units of the diplomatic missions in Cape Town. These are some of the key trade partners for South Africa and the Western Cape and this initiative is geared toward stimulating international business relationships and connecting our members to the regional leaders of multinational companies based in Cape Town.
Our inaugural event was held on 4 August and included the consul-generals and business chambers of the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany, as well as companies from these countries to ensure a business networking lunch with CEOs of our member companies.. The consul-generals included Bonnie Horbach of the Netherlands, Edward Roman of the UK, Gunter Schmid of Germany and Xavier d’Argoeuves of France who shared the following information:
- Britain: South Africa is the UK’s largest trading partner in Africa, and provides a trade surplus for South Africa. The UK is ranked in the top two markets for the Western Cape across trade, investment and tourism. South Africa is the UK’s 27th largest export market, and 36th market for imports. UK companies investing in South Africa include Anglo American, Vodacom, Holiday Inn, BP and Unilever.
- France: South Africa is a major trading partner for France in sub-Saharan Africa. France is South Africa’s fourth biggest trading partner in the EU, our 11th import partner and 27th export partner. There are 360 French companies in South Africa with a total of 37 000 employees. French companies investing in South Africa include Faurecia, AGS-Mobilitas, Teleperformance, Webhelp, Parmalat and African Eagle.
- Germany: South Africa is Germany’s largest trading partner in Africa. Germany is South Africa’s 2nd biggest exporter and 4th largest importer. German companies have more than 600 established businesses in South Africa dealing mainly in vehicles, raw materials and machinery. German companies investing in South Africa include Siemans, Freudenberg Nonwovens, Lufthansa GTS, Volkswagen and Zeiss.
- The Netherlands: South Africa is the Netherlands’ most important market in sub-Saharan Africa. For South Africa, the Netherlands is our 8th biggest trading partner and 2nd largest market for our agricultural exports. More than 350 Dutch businesses operate in South Africa and generate more than 100,000 jobs. Dutch companies investing in South Africa include Heineken, Condor, Jongbloed, Eurocopter, Spar, Philips Electronics, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Royal HaskoningDHV.
This programme will also ensure continued engagement with the consul-generals and business chambers to collaborate on various programmes to strengthen the regional economy.