SA, Cuba trade 'below potential'
6 November 2012
There is plenty of room for improvement in the levels of trade and
investment between South Africa and Cuba, Trade and Industry Minister
Rob Davies said at the opening of the South African Pavilion at the 30th
Havana International Fair in Cuba on Sunday.
Eighteen South African companies are exhibiting at the Fair,
representing the capital equipment, electro-technical, mining,
agro-processing, engineering and metals sectors.
Davies noted that the current levels of trade between the two countries
were extremely modest and below what they had been in the past, despite
a number of interventions by both governments.
"But I'm happy to say this year, the 30th Havana International Fair
anniversary is coinciding with the ratification of the agreement which
was reached during the [2010 state] visit by President Zuma."
R350m assistance package
South Africa is providing Cuba with a R350-million economic assistance
package that Davies believes could help to turn the country's trade and
investment pattern around.
The package comprises a R40-million grant for the purchase of seeds by
Cuba, a R100-million solidarity grant, and credit lines of R70-million
Davies said that Cuba continued to provide training for South African
doctors, as well as vaccines that were used in South Africa's public
He added that South Africans should never forget the sacrifices made by
Cuba in helping the country in its transition to democracy.
"If it had not been for the contributions and sacrifices that Cuba made
to the battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the impact it had on Namibian
Independence, and [the effect] Namibian Independence had on the
transition to democracy in South Africa, I think we might well find
ourselves battling with the demon of apartheid for several more years,
and possibly a decade longer than we did," Davies said.