South Africa's economic involvement in sub-Saharan Africa continues to grow, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.
In his 2013 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, tabled in Parliament, he said continued economic growth in this region was supported by growing investment and rising household incomes.
Expanded agricultural production and retail services, rising oil production and increased mining activity would underpin strong growth over the medium term.
South African firms had invested heavily in mining, telecommunications, banking, construction and retail in the region, which absorbed one-quarter of South Africa’s manufactured exports and 14 percent of its total exports.
South African assets in the region (including foreign direct investment, equities and bonds) grew from R157 billion in 2009, to R251bn in 2011.
Over the same period, the assets of African countries in South Africa increased from R99bn to R110bn.
Several complementary steps could support faster integration, boosting regional growth and development.
These included expanding transport links and infrastructure networks, and the reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment.
Enhanced regional co-operation would enable African producers to have increased access to the continent’s largest economy, while boosting South Africa’s exports. -Sapa