A new trade mission was launched last night to help businesses in County Durham take advantage of the burgeoning export opportunities in South Africa.
Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, hosted the South African Trade Mission launch at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham, in conjunction with the Department for International Trade.
The trade mission will see several County Durham companies visit Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa between September 16 and 21.
Guests included the South African High Commissioner, Her Excellency Nomatemba “Thembi” Tambo, who spoke about the opportunities in South Africa, and Sharon Constançon, Chairman of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK.
The second guest speaker, Kuseni Dlamini, African chair of Massmart (Walmart) and Chair of Aspen Chemicals spoke about the growth of Massmart while Ben Llewellyn-Jones, Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa also spoke.
The launch follows on from last year when delegates from the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa visited Durham.
Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, said: “We’ve built really strong links with South Africa over the years, so the trade mission will provide an exciting opportunity for County Durham businesses to build on these relationships.
“South Africa has a well-developed economic infrastructure and opportunities in emerging markets such as agri-tech, infrastructure, defence, transport and healthcare. It’s an exciting time to be a business in County Durham.”
Cllr Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, made the opening remarks at the event followed by HM Lord-Lieutenant, Sue Snowdon, who welcomed guests.
Cllr Henig said: “The North East is one of the top exporting regions in the UK, and we’re keen, as a local authority, to do as much as we can to ensure that as many County Durham businesses as possible understand how to access markets abroad and what possibilities there are for them to grow and thrive.
“South Africa is an important economy and this trade delegation will build on the work we’ve already done to forge contacts and create even more business opportunities.”