The success of the AGOA Forum and the BRICS Summit gives Gauteng the nod as an attractive destination for global events
By Koketso Tamale
Gauteng has hosted two international economic events in a short space of time and it stands in a good position to attract more investors to the country. During August this year, the province hosted the BRICS Summit which attracted a significant number of global business leaders, entrepreneurs and other relevant stakeholders to converge at the Sandton Convention Centre. Following the successful hosting of the BRICS Summit, the country hosted the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) forum in November 2023 which was held at Nasrec Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Agoa is a United States (US) Trade Act, enacted in May 2000 and renewed until 2025, granting enhanced market access to qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries.
To qualify for these trade benefits, countries are required to improve the rule of law, human rights, and labour standards. During the Agoa Forum, South African businesses were allowed to exhibit their products and grow their business networks. This created an opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss ways to improve the process of exporting local products to the US market. This 24-year-old trade agreement has proven beyond doubt that it is very useful as it allows AGOA members to access the US market that is being targeted by firms throughout the world because of its competitiveness. As members of AGOA, South African companies have the privilege of accessing such international markets. South Africa and the US have strong investor relations valued at $12bn as a result of the trade agreement. This allows Sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the U.S. market for products. Due to this vital pact, South Africa and over 30 countries on the continent are exclusively allowed to provide raw materials used in US industrialisation.
One of the sub-events that will be useful to local businesses is the ‘Made in Africa’ exhibition which is aimed at celebrating African innovation, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship. This exhibition session provides a unique platform to boost trade, economic growth, and collaboration between Africa and the world as it creates a platform for entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and showcase new and existing products and technologies.
This prestigious event connects buyers and sellers in the mining, automotive, textile, and agriculture sectors.
About 300 exhibitors from South Africa are expected to be part of the event which will benefit the country.
This economic event brought together more than 2000 dignitaries, including business people from 36 countries including the US. Among those who attended the event was the US delegation led by trade secretary Katherine Tai as well as business leaders, and labour and civil society representatives. These summits – serve as a platform to display the province’s infrastructure -such as hotels for accommodation, restaurants and transportation. South Africa’s tourism sector will soon start reaping the rewards of hosting these two major events.
Koketso Tamale is Head of InvestSA Gauteng, an initiative of The Gauteng Growth Development Agency (GGDA), an implementing arm of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED)