The inaugural India-South Africa Business Summit, which will be held later this month, will focus on doubling trade figures between the two countries, said India’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ruchira Kamboj.

The two-day business event will focus on mining, automotive, health care and the pharmaceuticals sector.

Addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Kamboj said the summit is aimed at maximising the potential of economic relations between the two countries.

“Trade figures between our countries stand roughly at US $10 billion and we would like to see that number doubling in the next coming years. We are confident that there is potential to double this figure. There are many sectors that our countries can cooperate in,” Kamboj said.

Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) Group Executive: Trade, Investment and Regulatory Enhancement, Muzi Mathema, said South Africa and India have strong trade relations but this summit is an effort to push trade relations to the next level.

“We have to bear in mind that we are in the dawn of a growing emerging market. In 50 years’ time, a third of the working force will either be in India or in other BRICS countries.

“If we don’t start taking these initiatives now, we won’t be able take advantage of the momentum in growth in our countries. The emphasis is that both our countries are open for business,” Mathema said.

He said the only way to grow the country’s economy is by expanding South Africa’s trade footprint.

“That’s the one key challenge that we want to address: to grow the trade footprint as well as to grow the economy footprint of the Gauteng economy.

“Part of these efforts is to make sure that our businesses that are based in Gauteng get access to the right markets in India and are able to grow in order to address the growth challenge that we are faced with as a country,” Mathema said.

He said trade between India and South Africa ignites a lot of skills transfer, employment and transformative changes in key sectors.

“This conference is important in fostering the historic and continuing relations between our countries as we forge ahead to become industrial nations,” Mathema said.

The Summit will be held under the theme: “United by Legacy, Unified for Prosperity”.

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