Zim, SA to grow small business

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HARARE — South Africa and Zimbabwe are to increase co-operation in the development of small businesses in both countries through skills transfer, knowledge sharing and increased trade and investment missions, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday.

This follows a meeting between South Africa Trade and Industry deputy minister Elizabeth Thabethe and Zimbabwe Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni in Harare on Tuesday.

According to the DTI, the two ministers agreed to push ahead with implementing an agreement on small, medium and micro enterprise development co-operation that was signed last year.

As part the agreement, Thabethe said South Africa’s Small Enterprise Development Agency would help the Zimbabwean government develop a small business incubation strategy.

Thabethe is currently leading a delegation of South African businesspeople on a five-day trade and investment mission in Harare and Bulawayo.

Speaking at a business seminar in Harare on Monday, Thabethe said economic co-operation with Zimbabwe would contribute significantly to growth and development in the Southern African region.

South Africa’s trade and investment agenda was focused on supporting Africa’s economic integration, Thabethe said, adding that infrastructure development was key to achieving this objective.

Zimbabwe’s Finance deputy minister Samuel Undenge, also speaking at Monday’s seminar, noted that South Africa and Zimbabwe had signed a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement in 2009 that protected investors from either country from unilateral sequestration.

According to the DTI, foreign direct investment (FDI) by South African companies in Zimbabwe amounted to approximately $619 million between 2003 and 2012, while FDI from Zimbabwe to South Africa amounted to approximately $154 million.

— SouthAfricaInfo