The India-South Africa Business Summit 2018 (ISABS 2018) concluded on 30 April 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg with a session on ‘India South Africa Relations – The Way Forward,’
The South African delegation included those from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), DIRCO, DTI, and business leaders sought to chart out the way forward for the India-South Africa relationship.
The second day of the two-day ISABS 2018 started with the “Report back to the Ministers by the India South Africa CEOs Forum” wherein key issues concerning trade, investment, promotion of business, which were identified by the CEOs, were compiled into a report and placed before the two Ministers for action.
The Opening Plenary session was graced with keynote addresses delivered by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India; Dr. Rob Davies, Hon’ble Minister of Trade and Industry, Government of South Africa and Mr. Pravin Gordhan, Hon’ble Minister of Public Enterprises, Government of South Africa.
The Summit also saw the participation of the Hon’ble Premier of Gauteng Province Mr. David Makhura, as well as Ministers and representatives from SADC Countries including Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia, top government officials, CEOs and industry specialists from India and South Africa. These included Mr. Anil Agarwal, Chairman & Founder, Vedanta Resources (largest Indian investor in Africa); Mr. Sipho Maseko, CEO, Telkom; Mr. Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO, Invest India; Mr. Yunus Hoosen, Acting Head InvestSA; Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President-CII & VP of Bharti Enterprises; Mr. Adi Godrej, Co-chair of India-SA CEO Forum & Chairman Godrej Group; Mr. Vuyani Jarana, CEO, South African Airways; Mr. Colin Coleman, Partner Goldman Sachs and Mr. Vivian Reddy, Co-chair of India-SA CEO Forum, Founder of Edison Group SA.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India, lauded the efforts of the High Commission of India and various South African government departments including the DTI and GGDA in organizing this Summit in the run up to the BRICS Summit in July 2018 and stated that this Summit was a harbinger of good things to come, conveying as well that South Africa and India were poised to take off in the next few years on a higher growth trajectory.
Dr. Rob Davies, Hon’ble Minister of Trade and Industry, Government of South Africa spotlighted the rich historical relations between the two countries and said that India is an important partner of South Africa, noting that there was immense potential to grow the economic partnership between the two countries.
Mr. Pravin Gordhan, Hon’ble Minister of Public Enterprises, Government of South Africa, underscored the need for old friends India and South Africa to be a part of each other’s growth story as together they stepped into a new era of friendship and cooperation.
In her remarks, High Commissioner Ruchira Kamboj observed that the India South Africa partnership was not just about the undeniable unbreakable ties of solidarity that have linked the peoples and the liberation movements of India and South Africa. This partnership was also about a shared future. Through synergies, through shared strengths and through membership in multilateral settings where the two countries sought constantly to engage, deliberate and collaborate.
The main Plenary Session was followed by 7 Breakaway Sessions on Start Ups, Automobile industry, Health Care & Pharma, Mining, Agro Processing, Women Entrepreneurs in Business and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, all of which are sectors which have scope and potential for growth in a bilateral context.
The Summit also witnessed the signing of an MOU between Invest SA and Invest India, strengthening a rapidly growing economic and trade partnership between two strategic partner countries.
A CII sponsored white paper was also released which spotlights the good work being done by Indian businesses in South Africa, with an accent on localisation, skilling South Africans and working in a collaborative spirit for mutually beneficial growth and progress.
Additionally, there were an interface between India and SADC countries, with SADC Ministers and representatives from Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique attending the Business Summit.
Earlier, the first day of the event opened on Sunday with the India-South Africa CEOs’ Forum, Curtain Raiser Dinner and a unique ‘Tribute to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi : Khadi Couture’ produced by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Gavin Rajah and South African designer Stephen van Eeden using India’s hand-woven fabric Khadi associated with Mahatma Gandhi.
Other notable aspects of the two-day Summit was the display of Indian and South African fusion dance forms – “Pulse” (A fusion of Bharatnatyam and Zulu) – performed by local artists and also the fusion of Indian and South African cuisine served to the guests manifesting the historical, cultural and people to people connect of the two countries. The performance by the Grammy Award-winning South African flautist, producer and composer Wouter Kellerman mesmerized the audience. The event also saw the launching of a book “The Red Fort Declaration – The Legacy 20 Years on, Commemoration of 20 years of Strategic Partnership,” authored by noted journalist Mr. Fakir Hassen.
The India-South Africa Business Summit 2018, which has the tag line “United by Legacy, Unified for Prosperity,” was organized by the High Commission of India in Pretoria in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry- Government of India, the Department of Trade & Industry (the dti)-Government of South Africa, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), South Africa, Invest India, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
India and South Africa share a strategic partnership that is over 200 years old. 2018 marks a significant year in India-South Africa relations, being the 25th year of establishment of diplomatic relations; 125 years of the Pietermaritzburg train ‘incident’ and the centenary of President Nelson Mandela. There are over 130 Indian companies in South Africa which have invested about US $ 8 billion into South Africa, employing approximately 18,000 South Africans. South African investment into India is approximately US $1 billion.