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Italy Looks to South Africa for Opportunity

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Monday, 06 October 2014

Italy Looks to South Africa for Opportunity

More than 100 political and business leaders from Italy and South Africa have been meeting in Cape Town for the first-ever South Africa-Italy Summit, which aims to bolster bilateral business and economic ties between the two countries. Under discussion at the two-day meeting, currently under way Cape Town, are ways to boost the economy of both countries and expand in Sub-Saharan markets, especially investment opportunities in the energy, manufacturing and agro-industry fields.

Also on the agenda are sustainable economic and technological growth strategies, as well as the role of banks and financial markets in supporting bilateral relations. With the theme "Building Communities of Leaders for Growing their Enterprises", the summit has been organised with the help of the Italian and South African embassies, EXPO 2015 and the Black Business Council. Plans are to hold the summit annually, to foster a strong, long-lasting partnership between entrepreneurs and enterprises of the two countries, and between South Africa and Italy.

According to a report in the Cape Times today, Alec Erwin, South Africa's former minister of trade and industry and now chair of UBU Holdings, told the potential investors that if they wanted to succeed in Africa, they needed to gain understanding of its economies from the economies themselves - not from analysts in New York. "If you're going to be serious about Africa, be serious about Africa, don't take it for granted. Get in and understand these economies, do your homework," Erwin reportedly said.

Erwin said there were no short cuts to doing business in Africa. Foreign investors who went in with the idea that African countries had to be investor-friendly and do everything the foreign investor wanted would be "sorely disappointed". Erwin told the conference that while the institutional environment in Africa was not always easy, it was manageable.

Source: allafrica.com