Item 075 - Address by President Nelson Mandela at dinner hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)

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Address by President Nelson Mandela at dinner hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)


  • 1997-03-28 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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South African Government Information Website

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  • English

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is just over two years since I last had the opportunity of addressing such a distinguished gathering of leaders of Indian business.

I am pleased to see some familiar faces that were present on that occasion - testifying to the vigour of the new economic relationship between our countries. And it is encouraging to see new faces too, reflecting the expansion of those relations during the intervening two years and the potential for the future.

Indeed the growth of economic ties since South Africa achieved democratic government has been nothing short of phenomenal. By late 1996 total trade between our countries was eight-fold more than it had been in 1993.

Our national airlines now fly regularly between our countries, carrying an increasing number of business delegations in either direction.

The elaboration of a framework of legal instruments and agreements is keeping pace with the burgeoning economic relations.

Encouraging as these developments are, the potential has scarcely been touched. We must therefore express our sincere appreciation to the Confederation of Indian Industries for affording us this opportunity to share ideas on how we can strengthen our growing relationship to the benefit of both our countries.

Ladies and gentlemen;

The past two years have also seen momentous developments within South Africa. We can say with confidence that in the first half-term of our first democratic government, we have laid the foundations for a better life for all our people.

Our programmes for socio-economic improvement, though in their infancy, have already changed the lives of millions by bringing access to such basic necessities as clean water, health-care and electricity; food-security and shelter.

Electoral democracy has been established at every level, national to local. The ideals for which we struggled with the support of the Indian people - including its business community - are now enshrined in our Constitution as the basic law of our land.

Whether it be in economic policy, a strategy to combat crime, or programmes to speed up socio-economic upliftment our nation is mobilised around the principal policies of the government. There is a broad consensus that the challenge before us is the speedy implementation of these policies.

Though our economy last year experienced a second year of growth at three per cent, we have set it on a more ambitious path to achieve six per cent growth by the year 2000 and the creation of 400 000 new jobs a year. In reaching these targets the macroeconomic strategy for growth, employment and redistribution will allow us to produce the resources for the upliftment of especially the poor.

Economic indicators point to underlying changes of the kind we need for sustained growth and development. We are encouraged in particular by our rapidly strengthening export performance; rising productivity and a powerful surge in fixed investment.

A range of measures has been put in place by government to sustain the positive trends. Incentives and programmes to promote investment in training, technology and infrastructure are designed to boost exports and competitiveness.

Discipline in the management of public funds has kept us on track to reduce our budget deficit in order to free resources for investment and socio-economic improvements.

We are proceeding steadily with a restructuring of our state assets - the acquisition of a strategic equity partner for our national telecommunications agency is in the final stages of negotiations with a Malaysian-United States based consortium. And there will be further announcements this year in transport, forestry and the leisure industry.

Large projects costing hundreds of millions of Rands are under way, changing the shape of our economy and our national and regional infrastructure. The Maputo Development Corridor is just one example of several major development initiatives, one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. Amongst other things it will narrow the distance between major markets in India and South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen;

For Southern Africa, too, the past two years have seen great strides towards a framework for making the most of its abundant natural resources and turning this market of 150 million people into an ideal destination for investment.

On a broader front, Asia has become our second largest trading bloc after the European Union, reflecting a shift of historic proportions in South Africa's relations with the world. Our enthusiastic participation in the Indian Ocean Rim association likewise reflects the choices that democratic South Africa is making as we approach the twenty-first century.

Southern Africa is strategically located to play a key role in extending these relations to Latin America, both in general and in particular in the field of maritime transport.

In short the stage is set for a major escalation in economic ties between Indian and South Africa. In this regard too, we have together laid solid foundations. The challenge before us today is to build upon them, by taking up the enormous opportunities for trade and investment that will bring mutual benefits of development to our peoples.

South Africa has much to learn from India, as a country which has faced the challenges that we are grappling with today. Your experience in developing small-scale industries is one example. The manufacture of jewellery is another area being actively explored at this very time by South African business. Conversely, we believe that the similarities between our economies make South Africa's experience and technology of relevance to India.

We are greatly encouraged by the interest which South African mining and engineering companies have shown in what India offers in the fields of mining and infrastructure development. We expect relations in banking, shipping, insurance and tourism to grow in the near future.

South Africa eagerly welcomes the interest of Indian Business, large and small, in South African investment opportunities. We hope that our visit might help translate some of the feasibility studies into investment decisions that add to what India has already invested in our country.

Our historic relations, including the presence in South Africa of a part of India, can only facilitate links which will bring benefits to our business sectors and to our nations as a whole.

Ladies and gentlemen;

We have only just begun to build the relationships which our joint freedom makes possible. There is no reason why trade should not reach two billion US dollars a year and more by the year 2000, or why investment in both directions should not be at corresponding levels.

The work of the Indo-South African Joint Commission bears testimony to the commitment at the highest levels of government to create the best conditions for co-operation.

We are confident that business, in India and in South Africa, will rise to the occasion.

I thank you!



Paragraph beginning: "Electoral democracy has been established at every level, national to local. The ideals for which we struggled with the support of the Indian people - including its business community - are now enshrined in our constitution as the basic law of our land."
Changes made: "constitution" changed to "Constitution"

Paragraph beginning: "Large projects costing hundreds of millions of Rands and under way, changing the shape of our economy and our national and regional infrastructure."
Changes made: "and" changed to "are"

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: South African Government Information Website. Accessioned on 8 Nov 2006 by Helen Joannides




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