Romania and South-Africa, on the path towards a stronger connection

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Marking significant events for both Romania and South-Africa, 2018 represents a special year for the two countries which, for a long period of time now, have been consolidating a common path towards sustainable growth and enhanced business liaisons.

If the Romanians are celebrating the centenary of the Great Union, for South-Africa it means the celebration of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the anti-apartheid leader and the symbol of democracy.

In one way or another, the fight for a modern, democratic, free state is, therefore, one common feature of these two powerful nations, connecting them on a mutual level, apart from other similarities they share in terms of economic approach.

As more and more businesses are currently developing between the aforesaid nations, it is clear that there are plenty more opportunities to be explored and turned into profitable enterprises and projects, mainly in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, IT, automotive, energy & environment.

Taking into account the fact that, for 2017, the South African exports of various products to Romania reached approx. EUR 35 375 992 and the imports from Romania amounted to EUR 197 623 506, we can joyfully acknowledge a definite upward trend year-on-year in the figures registered. Looking only to the 2016 situation, this aspect definitely points to a valuable recent increase in the trading connections both countries have managed to strengthen across the years.

Our facilities in terms of low income/profit taxes, prices, labour costs and skilled workforce continue to attract major SA investors and offer a strong leverage in their business decisions; there is obvious potential for significant partnership agreements or joint investments, especially in the area of real estate projects.

NEPI/Rockcastle, eMAG – NASPERS Group, PayU, KIKA – Steinhoff, Rombat-Metair Investments etc, Wild Olive, Theranova are but a few of the key players that have a footprint in the local market over recent years, strengthening our belief that Romania is a resourceful arena for South-African investment and trading opportunities.

It was this very abundance of resources and existing and potential opportunities which represented the driving factor for the foundation of the Romanian – South African Business Association, ROSABA, an initiative set up in 2014 by a small group of individuals and companies that understood the need to have a special organization dedicated to deepening the relations between these two countries.

A constant, reliable partner of the South-African Embassy in Romania and a committed promoter of the business-to-business dialogue between the business communities of South Africa and Romania, ROSABA has aimed, ever since its inception, at enhancing the commercial and social ties between the two countries.

Through regular meetings with various representatives of SA and Romanian private companies and state organisations, trade missions organised abroad or on our territory and active involvement in joint cultural/business events, the members of the association have relentlessly and passionately  attempted to explore and present business opportunities for South-African companies in Romania, as well as for Romanian companies planning to expand to South Africa & SADC (Southern African Development Community).

A think-tank for bilateral issues, ROSABA is also dealing with referrals/introductions to potential business partners, targeting to represent a reliable forum through which business people could come together and exchange information, in order to develop their mutual interests in both states.

With a membership composed of key players on the local and international markets (amongst which Blue Projects, Kinstellar, OMV Petrom, Grant Thornton, DTZ Cushman & Wakefield, GeoFarms AG, Platinum Capital, Atic Association/Ingenios.ro, Pepco Retail SRL, Barkhill Foods), ROSABA works closely with the SA diplomatic mission in Bucharest, InvestRomania and other notable institutions, in order to support and extend business liaisons between private enterprises and promote an accurate image of the main business sectors on the SA – RO axis.

Considering all the above, we trust 2018 and the following years will bring about not only higher figures in the investment environment of Romania and South-Africa, but, on an even more important level, a stronger connection between the two nations, along with stimulation of entrepreneurship and involvement in the business sector.