Africa-ASEAN business boosted at first Africa-ASEAN Business Expo and Forum
Africa has a great deal to learn from South East Asian nations about economic development and industrialisation, African leaders said at the first Africa-ASEAN Business Expo (AABE) and Forum, which opened in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week.
Pan-African and South East Asian dignitaries, businesses, importers and retailers gathered in Sandton for the AABE and Forum today at the start of the two-day expo and forum, to meet trade delegates and engage in bilateral business talks.
Speaking at the official opening of the AABE and Forum, Bene M’Poko, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Dean of the African Group, said Africa could learn from the ASEAN region’s approach to development. Among other things, ASEAN countries have a tradition of carrying out in-depth research and then making it available to citizens, he said. “In addition, when ASEAN countries make treaties and agreements, they implement them. In Africa, we tend to forget the treaties and decisions we make. In ASEAN, we have a model to follow, and we need to start with agriculture,” he said.
South Africa’s Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, noted the great strides the ten ASEAN nations had made in terms of industrialisation. “We need to expose our own people to the advanced manufacturing and levels of skill and quality out there, in order to support our own industrialisation programmes,” she said.
Suprapto Martosetomo, Chairman of ASEAN Pretoria Committee & Ambassador of Indonesia said the AABE and AABF was a very timely event to further strengthen bilateral trade between Africa and ASEAN. “ASEAN is an economic powerhouse, with a combined GDP of US$2.55 trillion in 2016. Collectively ASEAN is the 6th largest economy and 4th largest trade bloc in the world. The African region has six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, and collectively, Africa will be the world’s second-largest economy within the next few years. “With this enormous potential, it is astonishing that we have not yet been able to maximise the business and investment value of these two regions.” ASEAN stood ready to engage further with African countries, Martosetomo said.
The Africa-ASEAN Business Expo (AABE) and Forum will run at the Sandton Convention Centre until 8 November, and is designed to boost already thriving trade between African and ASEAN nations.
The conference and exhibition focuses on new import and export potential across sectors including environmental, construction, infrastructure, water, ICTs and transportation.
For more information, visit www.aabexpo.com/