Trade between South Africa and Ghana almost doubled from US$32million in 2008 to US$60.9million in 2012, Elizabeth Thabethe, the visiting South Africa Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, has revealed.

She said between 2011 and 2012, the growth in trade between the two countries — Africa?s biggest economy and West Africa?s second-biggest economy respectively — was 129 percent.

Ms. Thabethe, who led a 29-member business delegation for a four-day business forum to seek investment opportunities in the country, said Ghana is a strategic partner of South Africa and there exists further potential to increase mutual trade in value-added products.

She said increasing African countries? access to each other?s markets can serve as a draw for direct investment, and could transform the region from small fragmented markets to one large market where companies can achieve economies of scale, lower production costs and, ultimately, global competitiveness.

?If done properly, this will foster economic growth, employment-creation and improved standards of living for the people.?
South Africa is Ghana?s ninth-largest trading partner on the continent and 34th in the world. In August 2011, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on economic and technical cooperation to intensify efforts for the promotion of bilateral trade, industrial development, technical capacity-building and infrastructure development.

Between January 2003 and April 2013, South African companies registered 24 foreign direct investment projects in Ghana, representing a total capital investment of US$644million, or an average investment of US$260,000 per project.

Ms. Thabethe said there are several business and investment opportunities for both countries to explore, and was optimistic that Ghana will take advantage of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in South Africa. IDZ is a world-class facility that can be used for servicing Ghana?s oil and gas rigs and to meet the broader servicing needs of upstream oil exploration and production.

South Africa, the Deputy Trade Minister said, will continue to promote an approach to regional cooperation and integration that seeks to correct any inherent trade imbalance and address the lack of intra-Africa investment.

The four-day business forum in Accra was organised by the South African High Commission and the Ghana South Africa Business Chamber (GSABC).

By Evans KORANTENG

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