South Africa’s electrotechnical sector met their Turkish counterparts for bilateral trade and investment talks in Sandton this week.
The business-to-business talks with a 23-member Turkish electronics and electrical goods trade mission follow renewed Turkish-South African commitments to boost bilateral trade.
Under the ambit of the Turkish Electro Technology Exporters’ Association (TET), a professional body representing over 7500 member companies, the Turkish trade talks showcased Turkish white goods, electronics, cables and electrical production and distribution equipment to South African importers, wholesalers, retailers and industry bodies, and paved the way for future partnerships across Africa.
Chiboni Evans, CEO of the SA Electrotechnical Export Council, notes that traditional approaches to export-import partnerships are falling away in the sector across Africa.
“The requirement for local content is becoming a strategic issue across Africa, particularly in electrotechnical infrastructure projects,” she says. “In South Africa, for example, state-owned enterprises have local content requirements across products such as cables, prepaid and smart meters, pylons, transformers and trains, among others.
“This is the case in many African countries. However, in many cases, countries do not have the capacity to meet these local content requirements.”
To boost infrastructure development and economic growth, as well as to build mutually beneficial business relations, Foreign countries needed to take new, partner-focused approaches to trade with Africa, she says. “They must make some commitment to developing local partners and skills.”
Turkey’s fast-growing electronics, white goods and electrical components sector exports over $10-billion in goods to a global market annually. The country, currently the second-fastest growing economy in the world, is seeking broader trade ties with Africa across all sectors.
Among other moves, Turkish Airlines is opening new direct routes to Africa and Turkey is planning to open new embassies in all African countries.
Mehmet Kavaklioglu, vice chairman of the board of TET, says that with over $20-million in imports from South Africa and around $36-million in exports to South Africa last year, the TET believed there was significant room for bilateral trade growth. He hopes that the trade mission to South Africa, to be followed by a visit to Nigeria, would serve to boost trade ties across the white goods, electronics and electrical sectors of both countries.
Sindi Mzamo, treasurer of the Black Business Council, welcomesefforts to grow bilateral trade with Turkey and expressed optimism that the talks would result in concrete business outcomes and eventual skills transfer benefiting the South African economy.
“Power is a critical sector for development anywhere in the world, and electronics is power, so there is significant potential for mutually beneficial partnerships in this sector,” she says.