South African Ministry Partners with Belgium to Support Growth of SMEs in the Region

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South-African Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, has met with Belgium’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem to discuss bilateral trade relationsbetween the two nations.

Their meeting, whichwas confirmed on June 8th, 2018, had a special focus on strengthening South Africa’ SMEs.

Minister Zulu added that their talks were also aimed at further connecting South Africa and Belgium.

The two nations have been working to deepen trade and investment relations from as early as 2012.

At the time, SA announced that relations between South Africa and Belgium were set to advance, with both countries agreeing to cooperate in crucial areas that can help government meet its key priorities.

This emerged during a 2012 meeting between the then International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders in Pretoria.

At the time, the two discussed how Belgium can help support South Africa’s national priorities, especially infrastructure development not only in the country, but Africa as well.

In their past meeting, Nkoana-Mashabane said government remained convinced that the key to the economic development of the continent lay in creating the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the free movement of goods, people and services.

Since then, Minister Zulu has called for similar policies. Zulu recently encouraged small business and entrepreneurs to explore opportunities outside the country for growth.

Prior to her current role, Zulu was the special advisor to the President on International Relations. She previously served as the head of communication for the Pan African’s Women’s Organisation in Angola in 1988. In 1989 she moved to Lusaka, Zambia where she held the position of head of communication in the ANC department of Religious Affairs.

In 2001 she was appointed Chief Director for Western and Central Africa up until 2003 where she became the executive head of Government and International Relations, Vodacom group. In 2004 she became the South African Ambassador to Brazil and in 2007 she was elected to the ANC national executive committee and in 2009 was elected to Parliament.

Minister Zulu has been describes as a strong advocate for SME growth and development. Just months ago, she called on South Africans to support SMME’s (small, medium-sized and microenterprises) to ensure jobs are retained.

In December, the minister announced the successes of her department over the last year. She stated that the majority of young people and women in SA are not getting the financial support that they need, calling for radical economic transformation, which she said is designed to help struggling business owners to get their small and medium enterprises off the ground.

Her recent talks with Belgium hope to achieve this level of growth and development. Zulu has since expressed confidence that the discussions will yield results. Her department is already working to see this through.

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