The Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
The leadership of the South Africa Turkish Business Association,
Members of TUSKON;
Captains of Industry;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great honor and privilege for me to address this important gathering, the 2nd Annual South African Turkish Business Association (SATBA).
These are important Awards as they contribute to the further strengthening of our economic co-operation with Turkey.
These Awards are also important because they indicate the warm relations between South Africa and Turkey.
Since the birth of our democracy in 1994, the doors and borders between our peoples have been narrowed.
Our country prides itself of its cultural diversity and cosmopolitan nature. The magnificent Nizamiye Complex is a proud example of the Turkish contribution to our cultural melting pot.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since 1994 we have been working hard to transform our country, to reverse the legacy of racial discrimination and underdevelopment.
We have sought to improve the quality of education and health and to expand access to other social services for the black majority.
We acknowledge the contribution of the Turkish community to the promotion of education, which includes the teaching of maths and science in our schools in particular. The Horizon schools and Star colleges are part of the top maths and science schools in the country.
In addition, a sizable number of young South Africans are receiving training in Turkish learning institutions in various fields including minerals beneficiation, tourism, commerce and the defense industry.
These initiatives contribute to the community and economic development of especially our youth.
While economic relations between South Africa and Turkey remain good and strong, we still have a lot to do to further exploit the potential for trade and investment between the two countries.
For example, we have to exploit the geographic advantage.
Our two countries are strategically located. South Africa is the gateway to the African Continent and Turkey neighbors Russia, the Balkan States and the Middle East.
I have directed the Department of Trade and Industry to identify areas where we can expand trade further with Turkey for mutual benefit.
We will be building on a strong economic foundation already. Trade between South Africa and Turkey has been increasing steadily since 2009, from 5 billion rand then to 12.4 billion in 2013.
South Africa has also been able to steadily increase her exports to Turkey, with the annual growth rate of 21% between 2009 and 2013.
We believe that South Africa offers an attractive market for Turkish investors. South Africa offers many opportunities not only for access to a growing domestic market but also as a platform to the dynamically growing markets of the African continent.
On the other hand, Turkey has a wealth of knowledge in the clothing and textile industry as well as the mineral beneficiation and jewellery sectors.
We welcome TUSKON who have now established a presence in South Africa. TUSKON has significant experience in the development and promotion of SMMEs.
I would like TUSKON to partner with our Chambers of commerce in South Africa and promote partnerships and SMME development, technology and skills transfer, joint ventures and the creation of black industrialists.
I trust that our business people in both countries will exploit the opportunities created by our respective private sector and governments.
We are pleased that present here today, are a number of investors looking at new investments and expansions in South Africa.
We extend a warm welcome to all investors and potential investors.
Let me assure you that South Africa is open for business.
We are determined to create an environment that is investor-friendly.
We will continue to improve support measures both through the special economic zones program and other development tools.
We will continue to engage the business community, labor and other sectors so that we move along together towards the much desired growth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me congratulate the winners of the SA-Turkish Business Awards. It has taken a lot of dedication, hard work, expertise and commitment for them to be recognized in this manner.
We wish the winners all of the best as they grow their business further, contributing to economic growth, development and prosperity.
I thank you.
*President of South Africa
Published on South African Press Agency, 16 October 2014, Thursday