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Address by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South Africa National Day celebration at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates

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Your Excellencies, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Marhaba. Sanibonani. 

It is an honour to be celebrating South African National Day at Expo 2020, here in the wonderful city of Dubai. 

Under the theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating Future” this is an important platform for us to reboot the global economy after the difficulties of the past two years.

South Africa is excited to be at Expo 2020, where there are numerous opportunities for business-to-business, investment and people-to people exchanges.  

Our country’s theme, “Think South Africa, Think Opportunity’ is on full display at the South Africa Pavilion and the virtual Pavilion. 

We have highlighted opportunities for trade, investment and tourism, enabling South African companies to exhibit their products, and engage with prospective customers, international buyers and investors.

Over the past six months we have treated visitors to our Pavilion to a display of the rich talent, creativity and diversity in our country. From across our nine provinces there have been installations on music, dance, poetry, storytelling, theatre, films, design, fine arts and fashion. 

What you will find to be extraordinary is just how diverse the South African economy is. South Africa is renowned for its agricultural products, but also so much more. 

We have hosted companies producing a range of products, from armoured vehicles commonly used in UN Peacekeeping Missions; to an e-mobility van that highlights our capabilities in the electric car sector; to innovative products used in agro-processing.  

Through QR codes that are on most of the products on display, potential buyers have been interacting with product manufacturers from South Africa and connecting with them for business opportunities. 

We are also excited that an e-commerce marketplace has been activated 
to give customers direct access to products produced in South Africa.  

We are grateful to the retailers in the UAE who have been supporting Made in South Africa products over the years. Over 600 fast moving consumer goods produced in South Africa can be found on the shelves of Hyperama, Lulu and Kibson, to name but a few.

I encourage you to make the South Africa Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 your first point of call. 

Team SA is offering sector specific webinars and seminars that highlight the various opportunities for investment and trade. 

Our diverse industries include traditional sectors such as agriculture and agribusiness, clothing and textiles, automotive, mining, capital equipment, tourism, hospitality and manufacturing.

You will also find on display our vast capabilities in renewable and clean energy, fintech, healthcare, digital technologies, defence and aerospace.

The benefits of doing Business in South Africa are immense indeed. 

We have a strong and well-regulated financial, banking and taxation system, world-class IT infrastructure, and a range of business and investor friendly regulations and policies. Most importantly, we have a ready and able workforce with the necessary skills and capabilities to take your business to new heights.

South Africa is also the gateway to the African continent. With the coming into operation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, even more avenues of possibility have opened up.

We wish to thank the leadership of the UAE and the organisers of Dubai Expo 2020 for this opportunity, and for hosting us.

The Dubai Expo is a seminal and not-to be-missed event on the global trade calendar. 

Its importance is now greater than ever, as we strive to recover and rebuild in the wake of the pandemic.

Our country’s founding father Nelson Mandela once said that when people are determined, they can overcome anything.

As South Africa we are determined to recover from COVID-19, to grow our economy, and to build our country, 

And so we say once again, visit our Pavilion to see for yourself a country on the move, an economy that is diverse and growing, and a people ready to welcome you.

Think South Africa, Think Opportunity.

I thank you.