AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (SOUTHERN AFRICA)
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We are a non-profit organisation
We have a broad objective of providing a networking forum for our members
Our objective is to develop business activities, promote trade, and in turn, deepen the relationship between Australia and Southern African countries.
Benefits include what you need to know about doing business in Southern Africa, and whom to speak with.
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The Australian High Commission remains committed to providing consular advice and services to Australians in Southern Africa during the current lockdown. We encourage you to continue monitoring our social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – for updates. If you have not already done so, please send your details to the Australian High Commission in Pretoria. This enables us to contact you should the need arise. Click on this link to register with us
Letter from the High Commissioner – 25 June 2020
Dear ABCSA members and business representatives
I have now been in South Africa for almost a year, after presenting my credentials to President Ramaphosa in late-2019. I’d like to thank you for your warm welcome and particularly enjoyed the reception that ABCSA put on in October at Growthpoint’s Workshop 17 in Sandton. It was a great pleasure to meet you and to get a better understanding of the breadth and depth of the business and economic relationship. Of course our relationship is dominated by mining and extractives – and I also enjoyed attending the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town in early February – but the relationship is much broader, and the diversity of the ABCSA membership is a testament to that.
My short discussion with President Ramaphosa was focused on our solid and growing economic relationship. Australia is the seventh largest foreign country investor into South Africa. Our bilateral investment relationship increased a further 11 per cent in 2019 to over AUD$14 billion (Rand$165 billion). This is larger than many of Australia’s investment relationships with countries in Asia including Indonesia and Vietnam. It is also relatively balanced with investment flows both into South Africa and into Australia.
However, as you know we are in unprecedented economic times. Global COVID-19 lockdowns to various degrees are making it difficult and complicated for normal business activity to continue. For the staff at the High Commission, our immediate focus changed with the lockdown and closing of airports to facilitate the departure from Southern African of now almost 800 people who call Australia home. We were assisted in this mammoth task by ABCSA member Flight Centre who organised much of the accompanying travel arrangements for passengers, and ABCSA member Qantas Airways who operated one of the flights.
Restrictions to travel and border crossings, and disruptions to supply chains will have long lasting impacts on all businesses, and severe impacts on the economy more broadly. However, and despite the challenges, there are numerous examples of Australian businesses who have adjusted their operations, including to assist with the development of medical supplies to combat the crisis. For example, South Australian printing manufacturer Cutler Brands switched to making safety glasses for front-line workers. Australian manufacturer Drives For Industry is now making polycarbonate “sneeze-shields” for businesses with public reception areas to reduce the risk of COVID19 transmission. And there are also examples of South African businesses using innovation and nimbleness to respond to a global and national crisis. You may be one of them. If so, I’d like to hear how you have had to change your business operation and what your future plans are to engage with Australia.
We have all become digital savvy with many of us working remotely from home, and utilising the digital economy to continue business operations. For example, Australian children’s shoe specialist Little Treads has gone digital with virtual fitting sessions and feet measurement tutorials through their website. Education is moving online and Questacon, Australia’s science and technology centre, is now conducting tutorials virtually. In response to the crisis, Australia’s IDEA Digital Education and ABCSA member created a virtual school solution for government departments including providing digital curriculums to governments and education providers in Africa. Only last week it won the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) award for Best Innovation for Government in Response to COVID-19.
Like many of you, I am now also engaging with my contacts through multiple webinars. I particularly enjoyed the ABCSA webinar held in late May from the Trade Advisory Group at North West University on diversification of the Australia – South Africa trade relationship and look forward to more digital engagement in future. Austrade in partnership with ABCSA member Telstra is organising an African Mining industry update session on Monday 29 June which would also be very interesting to attend.
During the week I hosted a video conference with the other Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Asia with Martin Kingston, Vice President of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Chair of Business for SA (B4SA), which was formed to coordinate business’s response to the COVID 19 crisis. B4SA is seeking the support of South African and international businesses including from Australia to share skills, services and resources in fighting COVID-19 as part of the Solidarity Fund. While the Fund is also seeking financial contribution, it does not need to be, and if you have spare capacity, experience or skills, I would encourage you to think about how you could support this government-business initiative. Please feel free to contact B4SA directly at https://www.businessforsa.org/. If you are already supporting the Fund or intend to please also let us know as it would be great to raise the profile of such Australian activities in discussions I have with government and business.
During these challenging economic times I wanted to reinforce that the Australian Government through the High Commission and Austrade remain open for business. We are committed to working with you to ensure the longevity and growth of our economic relationship with South Africa and look forward to your continued engagement. Please reach out to us if you have specific concerns or if you have ideas on how we can work better together.
Gita Kamath Australian High Commissioner
To view the original letter – please click on the link
Export and Investment Opportunities between Eastern Cape and Australia
On 15 September, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, the Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Australian Trade Commission, held a webinar on “Exploring Export and Investment Opportunities from the Eastern Cape, South Africa to Australia”.
It was great to see growing interest between businesses communities from Australia and South Africa.
Informative presentations were given by John Madew (Australian Trade Commission ), Nomkhitha Mona ( Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber), Les Holbrook (Border Kei Chamber of Business), Quinton Levey (Exporters Eastern Cape), Duncan Harris and Nesan Naidoo (AACC) and Mary Boardman (Mhloko Boardmans Lawyers).
The future looks bright taking into consideration the in-depth information exchange on export and import opportunities, details on sectoral points of market interest and services offered in both locations to enable investment.
Please click on the following link with regards to the presentation slides: https://ecdccoza-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/llubengu_ecdc_co_za/Et3AvJ5Hk3JCo1JLjhBII2IBqZ5dxpcibBAn11-9P0p2bg?e=hOy0oR
Embassy Direct Webinar – 25 August 2020
“Women in 21st Century Diplomacy”
On the close of Women’s month, Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Ms Gita Kamath participated in a webinar hosted by Embassy Direct and supported by the Australian Chamber of Commerce Southern Africa.
The event, aimed at celebrating women in diplomacy, involved a great discussion on the role of women in International Relations, the pressing need to address Inequality and advance Gender Equity.
She was joined by other heads of mission; High Commissioner Jean Kamau (Kenya), Ambassador Liubov Abravitova (Ukraine), Ambassador Mairin Morena Merida (Venezuela) and Ambassador Nardos Bekele-Thomas (UN Resident Coordinator ).
“Doing business with Australia” Webinar – 28 August 2020
Australian High Commissioner Ms Gita Kamath gave opening remarks at the ‘Doing business In Australia’ digital event co-hosted by Trade and Investment Kwazulu-Natal, Austrade and ABCSA on 28 August. The first of many such engagements which ABCSA is looking to build on the already solid economic relationship between South Africa and Australia. ABCSA looks forward to continued investment with opportunities presented by Australian businesses operating in KZN including Telstra, Cotton On and Rio Tinto. KZN’s Dube Tradeport promoted opportunities in the pharmaceuticals, agribusiness and ITC sectors, with Richards Bay IDZ a major trading port for mining and agribusiness.
The video recording of the event can be viewed via the “Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal” Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/tikzn/?rf=591937887578102.
Check out our gallery for more images from recent events
Welcome to our newest member
Paul’s professional life started as an attorney in Australia in 1995, acting in industrial relations matters for trade unions in the construction, forestry, mining and transport industries. He then worked for a very different type of clientele at one of Australia’s most high-profile employer labour law firms, where his clients where typically publicly listed or entrepreneur-owned companies seeking innovative solutions to labour law challenges. After a stint in the United Kingdom working with a Fleet Street firm, Paul returned to Australia and continued to advise on employment law issues, industrial relations and human resources. Marriage resulted in Paul relocating to South Africa in 2005 where he set up Workplace Strategies CC.
Trade Research Advisory, in collaboration with the North-West University World Trade Organisation Chair (WTO), would like to invite you to their second 2020 DSM User Group Conference Webinar event which will focus on unfolding events and dynamics in the international trade arena. The event is taking place on 15 October 2020 from 09h00 till 12h00.
The B-BBEE Commission would like to invite you to join them on a ZOOM Webinar event which is taking place on 29 September 2020 from 10h00 till 12h00. The Webinar series will be on Testing B-BBEE ownership structures for compliance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
With the active support of the Australian High Commission and Australia’s trade, investment and promotion agency, the Australian Trade Commission, Australian Business Chamber of Commerce (Southern Africa) (ABCSA) is now reaching out to multi-nationals and SME’s who have active business interests in Southern Africa to become members.
This will not only cover the mining industry but across the whole gambit of industries thus giving ABCSA a broader base to work from.
Explore business opportunities
In business, access to commercial and government networks is critical.
The Australian Business Chamber (Southern Africa) brings you access to a dynamic membership base.
Search for new partners, build relationships, explore opportunities or simply learn from experience on opening a business.
Doing Business in Africa
Africa is home to 6 of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world and Australian exports to sub-Saharan Africa now top $11 billion a year.
We want to help you tap into those markets.