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    Africans and Asians Do Business in Durban


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2001

    The United Nations Development Programme organized the second Africa-Asia Business Forum (Durban, July 2001) to promote trade and investment at the enterprise level between selected African and Asian countries.

    Key sectors represented
    Sectors represented at the event included information and communications technology, textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, engineering equipment and services, electrical machinery, wood and wood products, agro-commodities and products, and leisure and tourism. The companies taking part in the Forum ranged from large diversified groups to entrepreneur-driven small businesses.

    Mr. J. Smadja, ITC's Deputy Executive Director, delivered a keynote address highlighting the potential for increased trade and investment flows between the African and Asian continents. He encouraged participants to go beyond mere buying and selling, and to exploit opportunities for forward and backward links.

    Meetings advance deals

    Over three days, 220 representatives from 194 companies took part in 950 one-to-one meetings lasting an hour each. The participants came from 23 countries including Botswana, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

    By close of business, participants had signed 105 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), amounting to a total value of approximately US$75 million. A further US$45 million worth of business was agreed upon informally. The deals negotiated included straightforward buying and selling, as well as representation, agency, joint venture and licensing agreements.

    His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of South Africa, with Mr. J. Smadja, ITC Deputy Executive Director, at the opening of the Forum.

    ITC preparations help participants

    Prior to the Forum, ITC had prepared a trade flow analysis to highlight sectoral trade and investment opportunities in the participating countries; provided training in international marketing at ten preparatory workshops (four in Africa and six in Asia); and supervised enterprise audits in six Asian countries. During the Forum, ITC's team of business facilitators and legal experts were on hand to help participants complete transactions successfully and to advise them on structuring MOUs.

    The Forum was funded by the Government of Japan, under the framework of the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

    For more information, contact Govind Venuprasad, ITC Trade Promotion Adviser, at venuprasad@intracen.org