To strengthen South Africa’s multi-million-pound links with the North East, the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) will welcome a delegation of South African business delegates to a special trade and cooperation conference.
As the North East prepares to welcome tens of thousands of fans for the Rugby World Cup 2015,leading business people and high-profile dignitaries including the South African High Commissioner Obed Mlaba, will jet to the North East ahead of South Africa’s clash with Scotland at St James’ Park.
More than 300 people are expected to attend the North East England and South Africa Trade and Cooperation Conference at Newcastle Civic Centre Thursday 1 October. Organised by NECC, UKTI and Newcastle City Council, the event will see a number of ministers, including a speech by Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Maude, and industry leaders from fields including: ports & marine economy; tourism; oil & gas; education, training & skills; renewable; and advanced manufacturing.
Brian Dakers, International Trade Manager at NECC, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming friends and colleagues from both South Africa and Scotland to the region. As an export market, South Africa is very important to the UK, particularly to the North East, with success in automotive, process industries and renewables, amongst other sectors.
“The South African government has significant aspirations in these areas, and this conference gives a great opportunity for us to both hear the detail, and project our credentials.
“There will also be opportunities for businesses of all sectors interested in developing trade with South Africa whether or they are a new or experienced exporter. It’s a great opportunity.”
In 2013 a successful conference took place at the civic centre involving local authorities, NECC, UKTI and the South African High Commission (SAHC) in London, which paved the way for growing trade between firms across the North and in South Africa.
The strengthened connections led to a trade mission to the African nation in February, during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between NECC and its Durban Chamber of Commerce.
Since then, the partnership has triggered significant successes between growing companies, leading to an export order pipeline topping $6m.
David Coppock, Regional Director for UK Trade and Investment North East said: “South Africa is one of the fastest growing and therefore one of the largest target markets for would be exporters in the North East.
“Our trade mission in February showed us the level of North East interest in targeting the South African market and we are hoping this event will build on that and start to deliver contracts and sales overseas.
“The calibre and seniority of attendees including, Government Ministers, business leaders and trade specialists both from the UK and South Africa make it a great opportunity to find out more about how to take advantage of exciting export opportunities.”
NECC member Videre Global, who build and supply specialist equipment for off grid energy production in the renewables sector, already has well-established links in South Africa, and is sponsoring the programme of activity, along with Business Durham, and Brand South Africa.
Steve Black, Technical Director and Co-founder said: “We’re delighted to be supporting such an important event in the NECC calendar as it is a great way to show off our region and the wealth of innovative businesses.”
“Videre’s operations span the globe but since our inception South Africa has been our main market of trade. With the help of UKTI and NECC we have been able to maximise our opportunities there and create strong trade links, ensuring continued growth for the company.”
The Rugby World Cup 2015 will see three games staged at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, and is expected to generate £14m for the region’s economy.
For more information or to book a place at the South Africa Trade and Cooperation Conference, please visit http://bit.ly/SAConf