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Patel calls for Turkish investment

Oct 04 2012 17:41 Sapa

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Pretoria - South Africa provides international investors with a gateway to the vast African economy, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Thursday.

"Last year, President [Jacob] Zuma convened a meeting with 26 heads of state and government and they signed an agreement to form the Free Trade Area in the next two to three years," he said.

"These countries have [a population of] 600 million people and a GDP (gross domestic product) of over a trillion US dollars. That constitutes the real market, the opportunity to use South Africa as an investing base."

He was addressing the South African-Turkish Business Forum at a conference at Midrand.

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Business Unity SA chief executive Nomaxabiso Majokweni also attended.

Mokonyane said the promotion of tourism and entrepreneurship was critical to the sustenance and improvement of bi-national trade relations.

"All of us can play ambassador roles for our own countries by telling each other about the challenges and solutions we have for both countries and contribute to a peaceful, prosperous world," she said.

"Infrastructure can be there but if there is no peace and harmony among people of the world we cannot talk about prosperity," said Mokonyane.

South Africa's exports to Turkey increased by 20% to R3.5bn in the past year. Imports had increased by 78% to R3.6bn in 2011 from the previous year.

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