SA business mission heads for Benin


7 September 2012

Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe will lead a South African business delegation on the country’s first outward selling and investment mission to Benin from 9 to 14 September.

“The mission will also serve as an ideal opportunity for South African companies that would like to export value-added products and services, and for companies that are looking for investment opportunities in Benin,” Thabethe told journalists in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Thabethe said the mission takes place within the context of South Africa’s strategic engagement with the rest of the continent, aimed at supporting Africa’s economic revival and promoting intra-African trade.

Agro-processing, furniture and wood processing, infrastructure (rail, road and telecoms), built environment and mining and capital equipment are among the targeted sectors of the mission to the West African country.

“It is important for South Africa to continue to pursue economic collaboration and partnership with African countries when crafting the way forward for sustainable economic development and the development of investment in the African region,” Thabethe said.

“Benin, like most countries in Africa, presents a wealth of business opportunities for South African companies. By establishing their presence in this country, South African companies would be able to access other markets in the West African region and Africa at large.”

According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Benin’s domestic economy revolves around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 35.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) and is the main source of income for over half of the population.

Cotton is the main commercial crop, accounting for about 45% of the country’s foreign-exchange earnings.

The hydroelectric potential of the Mono River, which forms Benin’s border with Togo, is being developed, with the construction of dams for power generation and irrigation.

Mineral reserves, notably of marble, iron, and phosphate, have not been fully exploited, which also presents an opportunity for investment, the DTI said.