Pretoria - A business delegation accompanying India's president
to South Africa will further explore business opportunities in the
country, India's President Pratibha Patil said on Wednesday.
"President Zuma and I will be participating in the
business forum tomorrow (Thursday) to listen to the views of captains of
industries from both sides, and encourage them to contribute to the
economic exchanges," Patil told reporters in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma received Patil and her delegation
at the Union Buildings earlier on Wednesday. It was part of a state
visit which would see them visit Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town.
"Indian companies are investing in capacity building by
creating jobs and playing an important role in the development and
economic growth of South Africa," said Patil.
The Indian president, on her last state visit before
her term ends, said the two countries would monitor the implementation
of previous agreements.
These include agreements on health, science and
technology, renewable energy, tourism, and infrastructure development.
She said the two states would work together to ensure their trade was not harmed by piracy in the Indian Ocean.
"We are deeply committed to working with the government
of South Africa and its people to ensure that our trade routes are not
affected and we are able to bring a sense of safety and security," Patil
Zuma said the visit would see the two countries
strengthening their social, economic and cultural ties. He said it was
especially important for South Africa to enhance its cooperation with
India in infrastructure development and trade relations.
"We have once again extended an invitation to Indian
business to invest in our infrastructure development programme, in which
we are to invest more than R800bn until 2014," he said.
This would translate into R300bn in the energy sector and R262bn in transport and logistics, said Zuma.
He said the presidential infrastructure coordinating
commission had identified and developed 43 projects from state-owned
enterprises, as well as national, provincial and local government
Zuma said South Africa would seek help from India in
acquiring skills in engineering, information and communication
technology, finance, economics, and accounting to boost the
He said both countries had to work harder to reach higher trade figures.
"In 2011, bilateral trade between India and South
Africa stood at R53.7bn, with South Africa exporting goods to the
value of R24.4bn to India and importing goods from India to the
value of R29.3bn," Zuma said.