PRETORIA, The Department of Trade and Industry is leading a trade and investment mission this week to Ghana and Nigeria where it says opportunities abound for local enterprises to boost their presence.

A local company is looking forward to increasing its market as it participates in the mission. The Senior Marketing Manager at Berfin, Portia Schippers, says she is looking forward to expand the food exporting company’s profile in the two-leg trade and investment mission, which began Monday and ends on Saturday.

Berfin is a local company based in Cape Town. It specialises in the manufacturing of juice, cooking sauces, condiments, spices, sweets, chutney, salad dressing, stock, canned items, dried fruit and non-alcoholic sparkling grape juices. The company forms part of the 20-member strong delegation of South African companies taking part in the mission.

Schippers says the mission presents an opportunity for the company, which currently employs 30 people, to open up foreign markets. “It is an opportunity to check the market and see if the market can be valuable for one’s products. Most people still think that Africa has nothing to offer, but that is not true,” she adds.

The mission forms part of the department’s objective to identify and create export markets for South African value-added products and services. It also serves to promote South African products, and service offerings, and to also create business partnerships between business communities of the three respective countries.

Sectors targeted for the mission are agro-processing, electro-technical, infrastructure, mining and capital equipment. The programme for the mission will include trade and investment seminars, site visits and business-to-business meetings.

South Africa’s exports to Nigeria almost doubled from 6.4 billion Rand (about 500 million US dollars) in 2012 to R8.3 billion in 2015, before slightly declining to R6.4 billion in 2016. The two countries continuously traded goods at high capacity and Nigeria maintained the trade surplus of R23 billion in 2016.

“In 2016, South Africa’s total trade with Ghana reached R5.09 billion. This comprised exports valued at R4.9 billion, while imports were valued at R192 million. South Africa registered a trade surplus of R4.7 billion with Ghana in 2016,” says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.