South Africa’s trade and industry deputy minister Nomalungelo Gina and Tunisian secretary of state for foreign affairs Sabri Bachtoji have committed to strengthening bilateral economic relations in order to increase trade and investment between their two countries, the government said on Wednesday.
During a meeting in Pretoria, the two emphasised the need to establish a framework and create a conducive environment for the two countries’ business communities to work together.
“Our countries have enjoyed historically strong political ties but it is incumbent upon us to strengthen our economic ties and increase economic cooperation between our countries,” Bachtoji said.
“As government, we need to work together in setting up a framework and creating an environment that will encourage our business communities to explore the economic opportunities that are available in both countries.”
He said a number of sectors in the Tunisian economy were teeming with opportunities that South African companies could take advantage of through trade, partnerships, investment and joint ventures.
Bachtoji identified tourism, agriculture, services and information and communication technology as some of the sectors that presented opportunities for the private sectors of both countries to explore together.
Gina said it was important to increase two-way trade and investment between the two countries in order to create jobs and grow economies.
“It is important that we hold these discussions and engage as government on various initiatives that can enable us to enhance our economic relations and result in more two-way flows of trade and investment between South Africa and Tunisia,” she said.
“South Africa also presents a myriad of opportunities for Tunisian companies in a variety of sectors. One of the areas of possible cooperation is the ocean economy which presents unlimited opportunities for investment.”
Trade between South Africa and Tunisia, which amounted to about R462 million in 2018, has been characterised by a mixture of periods of growth and decline over the last five years, the trade and industry department said.