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The launch of the Africa Scotland Business Network in November 2019 highlighted one thing – there’s a great deal of positivity about South Africa’s business prospects.

According to Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, in the period 2007 to 2016, South Africa’s exports to Scotland increased by an average annual rate of 49%, while imports increased by 1.9% per annum. And between 2003 and 2016, 11 foreign direct investment projects, totalling a capital investment of £24.37 million, were recorded between Scotland and South Africa, creating 497 jobs.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is an enthusiastic supporter of the network and will be embarking on a trade mission on 21 January 2020. Wesgro has previously sought to bed down positive trade relations with Scotland, with a 2017 visit to Edinburgh to discuss ongoing collaboration and opportunities between the two nations.

In July 2019, they were given the thumbs-up and all-important funding from Scotland, which they augmented with their own investment and a sponsorship secured from Craig International – a Scottish oil and gas service who recently set up their Africa Head Office in Cape Town.

Since the network’s launch in Cape Town during Africa Oil and Gas Week, it has grown organically to a membership of 86 and counting.

In collaboration with the Scottish government, ASBN is currently assisting a Scottish-owned training business to expand its operations in Cape Town, to train and upskill a local labour force for the oil and gas industry. Currently, Africa is spending huge amounts on foreign expertise to service such industries.

As Scotland is a global leader in renewable energy, with targets to be carbon neutral by 2050, and is already a net producer of clean energy, many nations are turning to Scotland for expertise.

The union of Scotland and South Africa appears to have great potential, as early interest and deals are already indicating. It is likely that the organisation will go from strength to strength, creating international trade, as well as knowledge and skills sharing opportunities for both nations.

Original article compiled by Creamer Media’s Engineering News

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