Powerful South African biz delegation in town today

Wednesday, 5 September 2012 00:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Strongest ever SA biz delegation to Sri Lanka in bilateral history
  • Among investments sought here are urban property and shopping malls
  • ‘Will strongly boost bilateral trade levels beyond $ 65 million’ – Rishad
  • Former Deputy Foreign Minister Schoeman in the delegation

The biggest -and most powerful- South African business delegation ever to arrive in Sri Lanka will land in Colombo today (5) morning.

“We extend a warm welcome to the strong business delegation led by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Hlengiwe Mkhize to Sri Lanka. I have no doubts that this visit will help further strengthen current trade levels of $ 65 million,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

The delegation consists of no less than 30 leading business members of the powerful Progressive Business Forum of African National Congress (ANC-PBF), the ruling ANC’s influential business collective. The delegation, led by Mkhize, and accompanied by ANC-PBF Core Convenor Renier Schoeman (and also the former Deputy Foreign Minister) will be in Sri Lanka during the period of 5 to 8 September. The visiting ANC-PBF delegation represents such sectors as construction industry, mining, agriculture, and tourism. It is reliably learnt that the delegation is looking for investments here in urban property and shopping malls.

According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, South Africa has become the most important trading partner for Sri Lanka in the Southern African region. In 2011, bilateral trade between both countries topped $ 65.49 million. The balance of trade between Sri Lanka and South Africa is reported in favour of South Africa except in 2007 and 2010.  

Last July, a top Sri Lankan Business delegation visited South Africa as part of a joint initiative of the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) to take part at the SAITEX 2012 International Trade fair in Midrand which featured a special Sri Lankan pavilion. Among the delegation were nine companies from various sectors which included porcelain tableware, Ceylon black tea, green tea, organic tea, and spices.