Indonesia seeks to enhance business opportunities with South Africa

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is keen to increase business opportunities with South Africa following the visit of Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno L.P. Marsudi to Africas southernmost country.

"Indonesia and South Africa share several historical similarities, and this has served as a strong foundation in developing mutual economic cooperation," Marsudi stated during a visit to South Africa, as quoted in a press statement here on Tuesday.

Minister Marsudi met South African Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Cape Town, South Africa.

The two ministers conducted a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, which was focused on improving economic cooperation between both nations.

Marsudi brought along several representatives of Indonesian state-owned enterprises and businessmen during the visit to South Africa.

The envoys explored business opportunities with their South African counterparts to identify cooperation potentials in several sectors, such as strategic industry, finance, and transportation.

"Indonesia and South Africa have agreed to encourage businessmen to use the wide-open opportunities existing in the two countries," Marsudi affirmed.

Both ministers have also tasked technical teams to complete the 2017-2021 strategic partnership plan of action to serve as reference, especially for economic cooperation.

Moreover, both ministers have inked several cooperation agreements in the areas of marine and fishery, training for diplomats, and free visa agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders.

Besides highlighting several cooperation and bilateral issues, both ministers also discussed the preparation of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Summit to be held in Jakarta in early March.

"With a strong IORA cooperation, countries along the Indian Ocean would be able to contribute more to peace, stability, and welfare in the region and the world," Marsudi stated.

The value of bilateral trade clocked US$860 million during the January-October 2016 period.

Indonesias main export commodities to South Africa are motor vehicles, rubber, sandals, tires, and paper.

In 2016, South Africa had invested $981,500 in Indonesia, thereby bringing the total to $2.75 million during the 2011-2016 period, mostly in the hospitality industry.(*)