The reciprocal visit comes almost a year after Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s visit to Singapore and Thailand in 2017. The trip has already reaped value, with increased business interest from Singapore and Thailand.
The delegation, led by Mr Damrong Kraikruan, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, expressed their particular interest in furthering investment in the aquaculture, agriculture, oil and gas and tourism sectors.
The delegations visit to the Western Cape came as a recommendation from the local Thai Embassy, who acknowledge Wesgro as a key partner in helping them further their footprint in the Cape and linking Thailand to investment and trade opportunities into the rest of Africa.
According to Financial Times, statistics show a total of 2 621 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects into Thailand over 2003 – 2015. These projects represented a total capital investment of over USD 122 bn. FDI between South Africa and Thailand is marginal, with only two Thai companies investing on one FDI project, each into South Africa over the same period, one of which was into the Western Cape. These represented a total capital expenditure of USD 16.2 million. South African investment into Thailand, is equally slim, with two projects invested by Gauteng-based companies into Thailand over the period in reference.
Currently, there are 150 small enterprise businesses operating in South Africa, employing over 1 000 South Africans. The delegation hopes to see the numbers increase to match that of South Africans working in Thailand, which currently sits at over 1 000.
Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille said: "Cape Town is Africa’s opportunity city and we welcome the Thai delegation to our shores. Investment in our city is not only building ties between cities and nations but also creating much needed employment. Cape Town with thriving technology, finance and retail sectors is the place to invest and employment is growing by 4,8% year-on-year."
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: “We welcome the discussions between the Western Cape and Thailand, aimed at exploring avenues to grow trade ties between the two regions. I am also particularly pleased to note that the Thai delegation has shown interest in the aquaculture, oil and gas and tourism sectors, which are all important levers in our Project Khulisa strategy which is aimed at growing our economy and creating more jobs in the province.”
"The total trade between ourselves and Thailand currently sits at R3.4 bn, with Western Cape exports making up 6% and Thailand's imports into the Western Cape making up 94%. We hope to see these figures equalise as we strengthen our ties with the country," commented Wesgro’s Chief Business Officer, Yaw Peprah.
Wesgro's CEO, Tim Harris, added: “Yesterday marks the first of many meetings and negotiations to come. We welcome the interest expressed by the Thai delegation and thank them for taking the time to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape.”
Issued by Wesgro Media Team, 23 August 2018
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