South African business is ready to take up the role of preferred partner to its Brazilian counterpart, which is engaging in a substantial infrastructure development programme ahead of the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies .
Mr Davies said by telephone yesterday, from the small town of Carapicuiba, east of São Paulo, that Brazilians are keen to form partnerships with established businesses in SA that had "played a pivotal role" in the development of infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup.
"Our ability to build and deliver on time the world-class infrastructure for the World Cup, and our success in hosting the event — beyond expectations — has put us in a better position for many countries to seek our experience and expertise," he said.
" We have a legacy to transfer to Brazil. SA’s quality of workmanship and service has impressed many people here and this will most certainly benefit the companies that participated in our own infrastructure development."
The 2014 World Cup offers "immense opportunities for South African entities to forge partnerships in various infrastructure projects".
Mr Davies is representing SA at the head of a business delegation of about 30 companies at the three-day Investment and Trade Initiative. The event started yesterday with a business conference focusing on IT infrastructure, energy, sports facilities and public transport .
Brazil is planning the biggest infrastructure project in Latin American history and is to spend 150bn- 290bn in the next six years.
"Their planning for things such as airport infrastructure and the construction of the stadiums is still at infancy stage, but we are encouraged by the levels of excitement and determination from both the private sector and the government," Mr Davies said. The conference was a platform to showcase SA’s goods and services and promote SA as an investment destination, he said.
Mr Davies is to meet his Brazilian counterpart, Development, Industry and Trade Minister Miguel Jorge Filho, today.
They are hoping to add flesh to trade agreements drafted to help facilitate business co-operation, and to examine tariffs and nontariff trade barriers between Brazil and SA.
The relationship between the two countries has evolved remarkably over the past decade. SA and Brazil have a strong political and economic relationship with a well-functioning binational commission, and are engaged in trilateral relations through the India, Brazil and SA (Ibsa) co-operation pact. They also collaborate in the Southern African Customs Union and Southern American Common Market .
The two trade ministers will discuss ways of encouraging expanded trade links and investments . Ibsa’s goal is to create long-term trading partnerships based on the doctrine of the reciprocal rights and obligations of the member states.
SA is keen to encourage its Ibsa partners to start working towards the elimination of customs rights and lifting nontariff restrictions on the transit of goods