Companies seek new business opportunities in South Africa

Eleven companies will be seeking business in South Africa for the first time on an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission next week. They will be part of a 14-strong group which will meet potential business contacts in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town on the mission from 26 September to 5 October.

All the participating companies will be meeting business contacts lined up by Invest NI through its marketing services including the Business Information Service in Belfast and contacts in South Africa such as the UK Trade and Investment team in Johannesburg and business bodies in Durban and Cape Town.

Three of the companies have been in South Africa with Invest NI before - Anaconda Equipment International, Cookstown, CIGA, Ballymena, and MindMill, Carrickfergus.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the mission, said: “The support for this mission from so many companies new to the South African marketplace is immensely encouraging and significant. It indicates a growing recognition among business here that South Africa offers substantial opportunities across a very broad range of business sectors.

“Smaller companies on the mission such as MindMill have developed business there from their participation in previous Invest NI organised visits to this huge market.

“South Africa is one of the world’s most dynamic markets and the gateway to the rest of Africa, which many observers predict will grow rapidly in importance as a trading community over the next few decades. In terms of market size, South Africa is home to 47 million people, with 300 million in the rest of Africa.

“South Africa’s economy benefits from huge mineral deposits of coal, diamonds, platinum, bauxite, manganese, chrome, gold and vanadium. As well as mining operations, the country has been upgrading its infrastructure and intends to spend upwards of £72 billion to 2013 on projects that will bolster key industries, especially tourism, telecommunications and attract further inward investment.  It’s also a very sophisticated market that offers extensive opportunities in industries such as IT and life sciences.

“Overall, our research has identified opportunities in agri-technology, advanced engineering and design, construction, rail, chemicals, mining, education and skills, environment, power, creative industries, healthcare, sports and leisure infrastructure and financial services.

“Among the features that make South Africa attractive to our companies is the position of English as the business language. The financial system is similar to our own.

Furthermore, business links between the UK and South Africa are strong, making the country a good market for large and small companies prepared to commit the time and other resources required to develop contacts there.”