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Finding new markets and growth at Eastern Cape export symposium

Home Events Finding new markets and growth at Eastern Cape export symposium

AS part of a drive to boost export trade and economic growth, the Eastern Cape Province will host the 5th Eastern Cape Export Symposium at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC) on 17-18 August 2023.

A key feature of the symposium which includes a two-day conference, exhibition and trade match-making meetings, is the expected participation of numerous global trade representatives.

Trade and economic representatives from South Africa’s key trading partners, the EU, UK and USA will be present, in addition to a BRICS delegation, comprising 25 delegates from India, Brazil, Russia, and China.

The international trade representation, including the high-powered BRICS delegation, which will arrive in the Eastern Cape on August 16, ahead of the symposium, will result in global attention for the region.

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) chief executive officer Ayanda Wakaba described the symposium as aimed at developing new markets and partnerships for trade, citing “untapped potential for exports from the Eastern Cape”.

The Eastern Cape is the country’s biggest citrus producer, exports more than half of light vehicles produced in South Africa, has the largest percentage of the country’s livestock, produces more than 15 million kilograms of wool a year and supplies more than half of the world’s mohair, according to symposium convenor, the ECDC.

“The attendance of local, national, regional and international trade representatives provides a unique opportunity for the Eastern Cape to build relationships and showcase its export capabilities. It also provides the EC export role-players with first-hand information on export opportunities, updates on export support resources and incentives,’’ Wakaba said.

“Specific focus will also be placed on understanding the opportunities to capitalise on supply chain shifts, new and existing trade agreements including the AfCFTA, AGOA, BRICS and trade with the EU and UK, ’’ said Wakaba.  “As a result, the symposium program will feature a mix of experts and trade representatives addressing these aspects.’’

Under the theme: “Global Trade Developments: Opportunity knocks!” the Eastern Cape Export Symposium has the overarching objective to promote trade and supply networks via access to markets, resources and trade research.

The 5th edition of the annual event hosted by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and partners Buffalo City Metro and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, will include an exhibition, conference, workshops, site tours, match-making and networking functions.

The event will attract exporters and the wider export fraternity (cross-sectoral mix) as well as policy-makers, including international visitors.

Speakers comprise leading trade specialists across sectors, including automotive, agriculture, renewable energy, environmental products and natural fibre, as well as regional and national policymakers.

Former Trade Forward Southern Africa director, Rob Moodie, who was one of 26 presenters on the conference program in 2022 lauded the Eastern Cape Province and its business community, “It is marvellous to see the level of cooperation and working together that was demonstrated in this initiative. I haven’t seen this level of collaboration in any other province in South Africa,’’ he said.

Kenya-based sub-Saharan Chamber of Trade CEO, Claire Dawai described the conference sessions as “mind-blowing”. “It was a great experience to have come to South Africa for the first time for this event. I am passionate about the agenda and forging mutual and long-lasting relationships that we initiated here.’’

EC MEC for DEDEAT Hon. Mlungisi Mvoko said opening trade in new markets was key with AfCFTA being a potential “game changer for Africa’s trade and economic development”. “To this end, we need to deepen partnerships, particularly with African trade partners to realise the full potential of the AfCFTA.’’

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