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Many opportunities for SA, Netherlands to strengthen ties - Ambassador

Mar 18 2019 22:01
Lameez Omarjee

There are plenty of opportunities to strengthen ties with SA, Netherlands Ambassador Han Peters has said.

Speaking to Fin24 by phone on Monday, he shared views on issues impacting foreign direct investment to SA. He was previously ambassador to Brazil, before being appointed to his current position in 2018.

On the current status of the Netherlands' relationship with SA, Peters said the country was the second largest source of foreign direct investment to SA, by stock.

Significant importer

"A lot of Dutch companies are invested in SA," he said. These companies include beermaker Heineken and consumer goods company Unilever.

"The trade relations sector spans the entire value chain," he added.

Netherlands is a significant importer of SA's agricultural products, particularly citrus fruits, Peters said.

The Netherlands is also active in the area of water management and water treatment in SA, he said. "We are trying to find ways of improving the water sector in SA," Peters said, as a lot of drinkable water is lost through leakages.

"There are a lot of opportunities in this country. I am particularly inspired by what we can do through digitalisation," Peters said.

Efficient farming

For example, in the area of agriculture, by using data capturing systems and technology, farming can become more efficient. Using data can help determine how much resources to use to produce and combat wastage.

The Netherlands is also working on improving logistics, so that citrus fruits from Limpopo can get to Cape Town to be exported to Rotterdam.

Work is also being done with the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) to develop an e-document, in order to using "a bunch of papers" and simplify fruit exports to the Netherlands. This e-document system is expected to be running by July/August 2019, Peters said.

"A lot is being done to help along business," he said.

Apart from exporting agricultural products, SA also exports coal to the Netherlands.

"The biggest challenge is to try and diversify imports and exports on both sides," Peters said.

south africa  |  netherlands  |  investment  |  exports  |  sa economy
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