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Speaking notes for Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development on the occasion of the International Consumer Electronics Expo

23 November 2017

Programme Director,
ANC Treasurer General, Mr Zweli Mkhize
Representatives of International Electronics Expo
Captains of industry from both regions,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Firstly, thank you to the ANC Progressive Business Forum for the invitation to attend this very important expo. South Africa and our continent overall shares a rich history, heritage and collaboration in economic and social relations with China.

Today`s Expo further strengthens the relationship between our two countries as they share a common desire to influence the global agenda in the 21st century in a manner that reflects the aspirations of developing our regions.

This Expo is also important as it consolidates our trade and investment relationship. In addition this expo will strengthen ties between business to business relations between our private sector players. In essence thereof we believe in collaboration and we look to cementing relations based on mutual and equal benefit.

In September, the Department of Small Business Development took a delegation of 30 SMMES to the International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair (CISMEF) in Guanzhou, China in an effort to unlock the Chinese market for South Africa`s small businesses. In order to highlight the importance of global entrepreneurship that cuts across borders, we thought it was best to partner with China to co-host the trade fair. The trade was a resounding success and many partnerships between Chinese and South African businesses were established.

Of course, on our continent our developmental programme is premised on Agenda 2063: the Africa we want. Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on and seeks to accelerate the implantation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development as well as interconnectivity.

Our focus areas tough which we champion Agenda 2063 include: infrastructure development, ICT, manufacturing, health, tourism, science and technology, agriculture and agriculture-processing among other others and of cause we always integrate women and youth into these sectors.

Programme director, I believe that this expo is an excellent platform for business leaders from our respective regions and I hope that business deals will be made. We should use such Expos for real business exchanges and not merely gatherings.

As the Minister of Small Business I am interested in how we create and grow our SMEs and Cooperatives to a level where they are export ready and can form part of regional and global value chains as well compete with global players. And I`m glad that most if not all the exhibitors here today are indeed SMEs.

I am particularly interested in the promotion of entrepreneurship through innovation, and harnessing the collective efforts of all stakeholders interesting in creating a culture of entrepreneurship. The idea is that we want to establish a culture of job creators rather than job seekers, and we are open to solid partnerships in this regard.

The relations between South Africa and China will enable them to promote businesses in particular the SMMEs and Cooperatives. This means that both countries will be able to share experiences and enjoy mutual benefits of both economies, share knowledge on key sectors that can be able to take SMMEs to the next level, as well as providing both countries with an opportunity to find out what strategies do work with Chinese companies that South Africa can utilize to benefit its SMMEs.

Skills development and employment creation is an important imperative that should complement investment flows. Working together we can both find ways of promoting SMMEs companies to grow our economies. I would like to encourage our SMMEs to be more innovative so that they can attract foreign investment.

Our role as Government is to create an enabling environment for SMMEs to thrive, but we do need to form partnerships with key role players who will enhance our economies which can benefit the global economy

Entrepreneurship holds the key to resolving most of our economic problems and we have to ensure that we invest our deliberate efforts into this space. South Africa and China remain firm in our collective commitment to build, develop and strengthen our relations on our shared principles of friendship and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, coordination, mutual learning and working together for development.

As we endeavour to achieve our strategic goals, we will continue to focus our energies at improving Trade, Investment, Infrastructure, Financial sector and Human Resources, as these are increasingly the drivers of our development and sectors where we are best placed to share, and benefit from our respective comparative advantage.

South Africa is moving rapidly to unlock our latent potential within the context of dynamic growth in Africa. However we must work more effectively, with clarity of purpose if we are to truly unleash this potential. We believe that this cannot be done in isolation, but instead we must work closely with partners in China.

Thank you

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