With South Africa seeking ways of mitigating the country’s ongoing power challenges, the Southern African–Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCC), in cooperation with the Germany Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, hosted a South African delegation on an industrial energy efficiency mission at the Renewables Academy in Berlin, Germany.
Local companies, government officials and provincial institutions working in the energy sector were partly sponsored by the SAGCC to visit the academy on a fact-finding mission from June 15 to 18.
“The South African participants had an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the German energy efficiency technology market by attending lectures, meetings and site visits,” says the chamber.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sponsored a group of local companies to exhibit at international foundry technology trade fair Gifa, which took place in Newcast, Germany, from June 16 to 20.
The yearly trade fair aims to bring together exporters working in the foundry, machinery and plant construction, casting machinery and equipment, as well as melting processes and moulding sectors.
It showcases foundry plant and equipment capabilities, including melting furnaces, sand-mixing and moulding lines, core-making machines, fettling machines and metal castings, and other foundry services.
The DTI paid for the companies’ exhibition space and booth rental costs, as well as the freight forwarding of display materials, air travel assistance of up to R17 000 for small, medium- sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) and black-owned enterprises (BOEs), as well as a daily subsistence allowance of R2 300 a day for the members of the SMMEs and BOEs.
In April, the SAGCC hosted German Ambassador to South Africa Dr Horst Freitag in Durban, in partnership with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), as part of its stakeholder engagement programme to foster engagement between South African and German businesses.
KwaZulu-Natal-based SAGCC members, as well as provincial government officials and eThekwini municipality representatives, attended the event, which aimed to strengthen business ties between KwaZulu-Natal and Germany.
“It provided a platform for Ambassador Freitag to reassure local and German businesses of his full support in maximising business opportunities and establishing the structures within the business chambers to realise them,” says SAGCC.
Freitag told attendees that the private sector should not depend on government for business opportunities, but should take responsibility and seize its own. He also urged entrepreneurs to focus consistently on nurturing innovation.
“Freitag also reiterated that thriving economies are efficiently integrated into the global value chain and that Germany is open to exchanging best practice methodologies and skills with its trade partners to prompt South Africa to take advantage of that opportunity,” says the SAGCC.
The chamber has offered to be the first port of call for seizing the business opportunities mentioned by Freitag as, together with the German Embassy, the SAGCC supports international collaboration to leverage these strategic opportunities.
The chamber further highlights that Germany’s responsibility in terms of fostering relations with South Africa not only involves traditional business activities but also incorporates skills development and training, as evidenced by Germany’s involvement in corporate social responsibility initiatives and vocational training exchanges.
Further, the ambassador highlighted several concerning pieces of legislation that could negatively impact on the sustainability of businesses, citing the visa laws, as an example.
Newly elected DCCI president Zeph Ndlovu welcomed the German representatives to KwaZulu-Natal and supported their initiatives for encouraging discussion. Ndlovu, who boasts extensive experience in the maritime sector, said he was confident that substantial opportunities and collaborations between Durban and Germany would develop.
He urged businesses to take advantage of the constructive relationship between the SAGCC and the DCCI.