SAPA | Apr 12 2010
Congo trade agreement creates opportunities for SA
A MEMORANDUM of understanding on economic co-operation with the Republic of Congo is set to deepen technical, trade and industrial co-operation with South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma and the Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou-Nguesso signed a trade agreement in Pretoria on Thursday.
“As an effort to implement the signed Bilateral Trade Agreement, there is a need to explore the possibility of establishing the provided-for Joint Trade Committee between the two countries,” Zuma said in a statement.
He said this committee would be well placed to analyse the status of bilateral trade between the two countries.
“We further wish to acknowledge the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the South African Chamber of Business and the Congolese National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2006.
“Business from both countries must re-energise this agreement and ensure that it meets the intended economic objectives,” he said.
“It is commonly accepted that the oil and petroleum sector is the biggest revenue earner in the Congo that contributes more than 60 percent of the nominal GDP (gross domestic product). Agriculture and other industries are equally important as part of diversifying the economy,” Zuma said.
He also applauded efforts by the Congolese government to revitalise the country’s agricultural sector and welcomed the long-term land lease agreement of over 200000 hectares of idle farmland to a consortium of South African farmers.
Zuma said he was convinced that by fostering closer trade and investment ties, South Africa would be able to mobilise to a maximum level its collective resources and promote substantive “intra-Africa trade”.
“There are also potential investment opportunities that exist in the areas of transport, infrastructure development especially road, maritime and rail construction; mining, harnessing of energy, tourism development, and information communication and technology services.” — Sapa