A senior minister stated on Sunday that South Africa is more than willing to work with the CII India Business Forum (IBF) and appropriate local ministries to expand bilateral collaboration. He praised Indian enterprises for helping the country’s growth trajectory.
South Africa has proposed forming a joint task force between the IBF and appropriate local ministries to expand the two nations’ existing collaboration. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, made the request during his address to the IBF’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which represents over 100 Indian companies working in South Africa.
Nzimande stated, “I must state up front that as a Minister and both my departments, we are more than willing to engage with this forum further for mutual benefit.” He added that they propose the formation of a Joint Task Team to work on the details of their future relationship.
The IBF summit, according to the minister, comes at a time when the South African government and businesses need to form strong partnerships in order to expand the economy and generate jobs.
“Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate the forum and Indian firms for investing more than $100 billion in the South African economy since 1996,” he added, citing the pharmaceutical, information technology, and automotive industries.
As the South African government, they are encouraged by the commitment to assist their country’s growth, and they look forward to further collaboration with them in the future, he added.
“I’d like to recognize India’s crucial contribution in opposing and isolating the apartheid state, which dates back to the 1960s. Former South African President Nelson Mandela acknowledged India’s important role in this area,” according to Nzimande.
The Indian minister requested that some of the thousands of young people who have graduated from college be placed in learnership posts. Nzimande emphasized a wide range of potential for the IBF to share some of its skills and capabilities, particularly in ICT and other smart manufacturing technologies, to aid the country’s re-industrialisation efforts by supporting the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector.
In order to assure a large uptake of these programs by South African youngsters, Indian corporations might co-fund them. He added that there are also opportunities to invest in South Africa’s reindustrialisation initiatives by assisting in the development of local manufacturing skills.
Nzimande also mentioned a number of areas where India and South Africa had already collaborated successfully, including a strategic cooperation for the worldwide Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project, which is being hosted in South Africa.
Indian scientists, especially from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, are making critical contributions to the SKA’s software development platforms. According to him, this includes tight collaboration with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory.
He explained that the SKA project is a catalyst for accelerated technology development in areas such as supercomputing and big data, and that it provides exciting opportunities for South African and Indian businesses to collaborate on the most promising technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In his closing remarks, IBF President Praveer Tripathi stated that the organization had doubled its membership in Johannesburg and that plans were underway to expand the organization to other provinces in South Africa and then to other nations in the Southern African Development Community. Tripathi urged Indian businesses in South Africa to submit their success stories on the IBF website, which is currently being updated.