Director of Export Promotion, Asia and Middle East, Thulani Mpetsheni, SA Consul-General in Mumbai, India, Maropene Ramokgopa and the Chairman of Maharashtra State Council CII Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kashimar Mewawala during the seminar which was part of the Outward Selling Mission to India. PHOTO: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa should take a leaf out India’s Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME) sector which is responsible for the creation of jobs and for anchoring the economy, and not big business, South African Consul-General in Mumbai, India, Maropene Ramokgopa said.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in Mumbai, she cited the rise of the Indian Information Technology sector as an example.

“This sector grew to become what it is today precisely because of these kinds of initiatives that I have alluded to. Initiatives that had to do with incubation, innovation and research and development," she said.

"I am also very excited that the dti chose Mumbai as one of their stops for the Outward Selling Mission into India and at a time when trade relations between ourselves and our Indian counterparts need to grow bigger. Now this kind of event taking place today allows both South African and Indian businesses an opportunity to actualise some of the agreements our principals have already agreed upon.”

Ramokgopa explained that the Indian government’s successes within the SMME sector were because it identified an industry it would like to develop and then created opportunities for start-ups to grow through incubation initiatives and the awarding of tax breaks as these SMMEs grow.

Ramokgopa said that discussions that had already taken place with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had identified partnerships that can be pursued going forward.

"India did inform us that they were looking at diversifying into the mining sector and it is well-known that we possess a mining track record that spans more than hundred years. India in return has been doing extremely well in fields such as Information Technology and would ensure that they support us in that regard," she said.

"A lot of the things that we have been trying to cooperate in have been discussed and Memorandums of Understanding have been assigned and that was only a way of ensuring that we create an enabling environment."

The Chairman of Maharashtra State Council CII Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kashimar Mewawala said that the Indian government had undertaken a series of reforms to make the ease of doing business in India much easier.

"Initiatives such as Start-Up India, the Make in India programme and Digital India have helped shine a spotlight on India as an attractive and able market. Our commercial relations have flourished since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993. Our bilateral trade has increased from USD2.5 billion since 2003-2004 to the current USD10 billion," Mewawala said.

African News Agency (ANA)