Finweek English Edition - - Business strategy entrepreneur - DAVID PIN­CUS

SOUTH AFRICA’S EX­PORTS to Ger­many in­creased by 21% to Ð3,7bn (R34,6bn) in the first 11 months of 2006 com­pared with Ð3bn (R28bn) the year be­fore, says Matthias Bod­den­berg, CE of the SA-Ger­man Cham­ber of Trade and In­dus­try (SAGC).

Even more sat­is­fy­ing was the swing away from raw ma­te­rial ex­ports to man­u­fac­tured and semi-fin­ished goods.

“SA’s in­vest­ment in so­phis­ti­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing ma­chin­ery is now pay­ing off, and the po­ten­tial, mea­sured in euros, to grow at an an­nual rate of 10% in the next few years, is there,” says Bod­den­berg. “Mea­sured in rand terms it will be more, due to the lo­cal cur­rency’s volatil­ity.”

An­other rea­son for Ger­many’s and South Africa’s sta­tis­tics not re­flect­ing the same growth rate is the dif­fer­ence be­tween their fi­nan­cial years. SA’s sta­tis­tics re­flect fi­nan­cial years end­ing 31 March, and in Ger­many the cal­en­dar year is the fi­nan­cial year.

A sit­u­a­tion has arisen where the Ger­man bal­ance of trade, which had been ris­ing steadily year-on-year in Ger­many’s favour, is now stable at around Ð3bn (R28bn). Ger­man ex­ports to SA in 2005 were val­ued at Ð6,1bn (R57bn). They rose to Ð6,65bn (R62 bn) last year.

The only ob­sta­cle Bod­den­berg fore­saw was the out­come of ne­go­ti­a­tions, cen­tred on the abo­li­tion by the EU of trade tar­iffs.

SA’s in­vest­ment in so­phis­ti­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing ma­chin­ery is now pay­ing off. Matthias Bod­den­berg

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