Pretoria, July 9: Top business leaders from India and South Africa on Friday (July 8) signed eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) leading to increased cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two nations.
The MoU were signed at the South Africa-India CEOs Forum on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden visit here aimed at further bolstering cooperation on economic, political, social and international areas.
Hindustan Zinc Limited signed two MoU with Minova Africa for development and supply of rock support systems for underground mining in India; and with Feremel for the supply and maintenance of underground mining equipment to improve safety, efficiency and productivity in modern mechanised underground mines.
MMI Holdings and Aditya Birla Nuvo signed an MoU to form a Joint Venture in the health and insurance sector in India.
India's Ion Exchange Safic, a leading waste and water treatment company with a presence in South Africa, will collaborate with Stefanutti Stocks SA in large scale water and effluent treatment projects in South Africa.
SAAB Grintek Defence and Tata Power signed an agreement for production of land electronic defence systems in India.
An MoU signed between Pioneer Global Enterprises of India and Armscor to produce ultrasonic broken railway detector systems for Indian Railways also includes an emphasis on technology transfer.
Gordon Institute of Business Science has signed an MoU with ISB Hyderabad to collaborate on a senior executive programme, student exchange, faculty exchange and joint research.
The biggest MoU is signed between the Dube Trade Port in Durban and Cipla India, which will see a Rand 1.3 billion biosimilar plant being set up in the special export zone to produce cheaper drugs for local government and private sector supply as well as export.
A number of other bilateral agreements and MoUs are expected to be finalised in the next few months.
The areas of cooperation in these include Information Communication Technology, Tourism, Sport, Culture, Grassroots Innovation, Renewable Energy, Audio-Visual and Visa Simplification Procedures.
South African co-chair of the Forum Vivian Reddy said he and his Indian counterpart Adi Godrej were committed to ensure that the body meet more regularly to achieve the objectives of enhancing trade and investment between the two countries.
Reddy said they had committed to meet at least twice a year, with the next meeting scheduled to take place during the BRICS conference in India later this year.
Godrej highlighted the massive changes that had occurred in India since the last meeting, citing the 'Make in India' campaign introduced by Prime Minister Modi as one of these which had opened up areas such as defence, railways, and pensions for overseas investment.
He called on the business leaders to find ways to urgently address and reverse the decline in bilateral trade which had declined from USD 11 billion a year earlier to USD 9.5 billion in 2015.
Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Planning Ramesh Abhishek said that India was committed to helping with skills development and growth of small and medium industries in South Africa.
Reddy said that South Africa was keen to strengthen trade between the two countries since diplomatic relations with India were resumed in 1993 after a break of almost four decades as India led the international fight against the minority white apartheid regime.
South Africa's trade statistics also show that India's exports to South Africa increased from R29 billion in 2011 to R54 billion in 2015, while South Africa's exports to India increased from R24 billion in 2011 to R41 billion.
While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote South African exports of especially value added products.