100822. Cape Town. President Jacob Zuma speaking at a school in Mitchells Plain. Picture henk Kruger/Cape Argus/Cape Times

Johannesburg - South African President Jacob Zuma and his Indian counterpart Pratibha Devisingh Patil will address the South Africa/India Business Forum on Thursday in Pretoria.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the event would mark an essential tool in growing South Africa's economy and in increasing bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and India.

“The event will also provide an opportunity for the South African and Indian business communities to forge relationships and form business linkages with key players and decision-makers in various sectors.”

Zuma challenged South African and Indian businesses, during the state visit to India in 2010, to raise bilateral trade to $10-billion (around R76-billion) by 2012.

“Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2011, stood at R53.7bn, with South Africa exporting goods to the value of R24.4bn to India and importing goods from India to the value of R29.3bn,” Davies said.

He said the president's visit to India was a success as several pacts were signed and the South Africa/India Chief Executives Forum was re-launched. - Sapa