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News > Russia

St. Petersburg Hosts the Russia-South Africa Business Dialogue

  • TV BRICS editor-in-chief Ksenia Komissarova, July 28, 2023.

    TV BRICS editor-in-chief Ksenia Komissarova, July 28, 2023. | Photo: TV BRICS

Published 28 July 2023

The event was dedicated to the development of long-term business relations between both nations.

On Friday, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a business dialogue between Russia and South Africa dedicated to the development of long-term business relations.


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The event was organised by the Russia-Africa Business Council. The moderators of the meeting were Pavel Yakovlev, Chairman of the Russia-South Africa Business Council, Director General of AZ Ural, and Ekaterina Lebedeva, Vice President of Saint-Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"In the first quarter of 2023, trade turnover increased by more than 20 per cent. At the end of last year, we supplied goods worth US$191 million from South Africa to St Petersburg. At the same time, we exported goods worth US$13.7 million. The main products we export are fruits. In January, a ship with 2 thousand tonnes of fresh fruit arrives in St. Petersburg every year, which immediately ends up in the city's shops," said, Vladimir Katenev, president of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Among the existing problems in trade relations between Russia and Africa, including South Africa, he named mutual settlements:

"Just the other day we discussed the scheme of mutual settlements with the Minister of Economy of Egypt, who suggested returning to the barter scheme. Currently it is not very regulated in our tax and customs legislation, but it could work quite well," Katenev said, adding that the issue requires further elaboration.

Mzuvukile Maqetuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa to the Russian Federation, praised the role of the Northern Capital of the Russian Federation for Russian-African ties.

"The Russian branch of the Business Council is very well known to us and to me in particular due to the activities of some programmes, such as, for example, the country's Sub-Committee on Agriculture and Food. St Petersburg in general is strategically important to South Africa. I think about 90 per cent of the imports that come into the Russian Federation come into St Petersburg. One of the most priority areas for us is the sphere of South African seaport logistics," said Elias Monage, chairman of the Black Business National Council and executive chairman of Afika Group.

"Some of the issues that we as a business organisation need to put together are around the payment system in the absence of a solution to the current trade. The second part of the problem that we think needs to be addressed is the issue of cooperation, harmonisation and - in terms of the projects that we are running from both countries, especially from the South African perspective - the issue of the energy crisis. It requires a cooperative approach and different modalities that we need to discuss, whether it's gas, water, energy components, to overcome it. Infrastructure development is also important to us. Given the history of your country, we see a coherence in addressing these issues," he said.

"Under our generation, the media sphere has indeed become a powerful category that shapes not only public perception but also influences decision-making that paves the way for the new economy. As we go down this path, we cannot ignore the enormous potential that exists within our countries and the contribution of individuals, gatherings of businessmen and entrepreneurs who are doing the work. South Africa and Russia have not fully realised their potential. Sharing content of national media plays a crucial role," said Shalen Singh, Director of Depijet.

In her turn, Ksenia Komissarova, editor-in-chief of TV BRICS, explained how the international network works.

"The topics of economic cooperation between Russia and South Africa, as well as business cooperation, are a priority for us. Our reports and text news in Russian are translated into English, Portuguese and Chinese and sent to the network's media partners for publication on their resources, for foreign audiences. Today TV BRICS already has more than 50 such partners. These are national media, including the largest ones from the BRICS countries, Africa, Eurasia and Latin America. In return, we also receive content from them, which we translate, adapt, post ourselves and share with our partners. This multilateral exchange allows us to obtain and disseminate high-quality information about the economy as a whole and its individual industries, using the examples of operating companies. In this way we contribute to their promotion and recognition," she said.

The editor-in-chief of TV BRICS added that a series of documentaries about gold mining in Russia has been shown in South Africa, aired by the media network's partners.

"Soon we plan to show a film on silver mining as well. It is encouraging that the economic and business agenda of Russia and South Africa is becoming wider and wider. This means that we will definitely have something to talk about and thus continue to contribute to strengthening cooperation between the two countries," Komissarova pointed out.

In addition, the meeting included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Russia-South Africa Business Council and the Chelyabinsk Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Russia-South Africa Business Council and National Coordination Centre for the Development of Economic Relations with Asia-Pacific Countries.

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