Pretoria – South African companies are set to participate in the African Investment and Business Forum in Algiers, Algeria, at the weekend.
Over 80 local companies will partake in the forum that will take place from Saturday to Monday.
The Department of Trade and Industry said South Africa’s participation in the forum is aimed at strengthening bilateral economic relations with Algeria.
“Algeria has been South Africa’s largest export trading partner in the North Africa region, having accounted for 43% of SA’s total trade with North Africa in the period from 2011 to 2015.
“The value of trade between the two countries reached over R13.4 billion, from 2011 to 2015. South African exports [are] estimated at R13 billion while imports from Algeria were R463 million,” Minister Rob Davies said on Thursday.
South Africa’s top five exports to Algeria include vehicles, prepared foodstuffs, vegetable products, machinery, base metals and other products.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s top five imports from Algeria consisted mainly of mineral fuels, chemicals, ceramic products, vehicles and other products.
In 2011 roughly 72% of all South Africa’s exports to North Africa were destined for the Algerian market and in 2015 the figure dropped to only 24% which is the lowest record in the past five years.
“Algeria is seeking more trade and foreign investment to diversify its economy especially in light of the current low oil prices, which have adversely affected Algeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in the past years,” said Minister Davies.
The trade balance between the two countries in skewed in South Africa’s favour however a closer analysis of bilateral trade trends illustrates that the volume and value of trade is generally declining.
“South Africa is gradually losing its import market share in Algeria,” noted Minister Davies.
He emphasises that taking part in this forum will afford South African companies first-hand opportunity to network, identify partners for joint ventures, and create opportunities for the export of value added goods and services to Algeria and the North Africa region.