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Romania – a gateway to European investments for the South-African market

For a long time now, Romania and South-Africa have been strengthening and expanding their business liaisons, based on a wide range of interesting business opportunities, especially in the areas of: agriculture, machinery, mining, real estate, IT, retail manufacturing, automotive, energy & environment, logistics, healthcare and many more.

Trade between South Africa and Romania is in Romania’s favour, although the 2016 bilateral trade volume dropped as compared to 2015.

The main products exported by Romania to South Africa belong to the following categories: cars and vehicles, machines and electric equipment, animal/ vegetal oils and fats, plastic materials and rubber products, photo and video cameras.

In 2016 Romania imported from South Africa cars and vehicles (autoparts), metals and metal items, vegetal products/ fruits, chemical products.

Last year, exports to Romania mounted to EUR 170.39 million, while imports from Romania mounted to EUR 35.08 million.

Romania represents a resourceful arena for South-African investment and trading opportunities, as a gateway to European investment for the South-African market. A relevant proof is constituted by the numerous key players that have largely invested in the local market over the recent years: NEPI, eMAG – NASPERS Group, Ursus – SABMILLER, PayU, KIKA – Steinhoff, Rombat-Metair Investments etc, Wild Olive, Blue Projects, Theranova, etc.

Romania’s facilities in terms of low income/profit taxes, prices, labour costs and skilled workforce continue to attract major SA investors and offer a strong leverage in investment decisions.

If we only consider the recent partnership concluded by Atterbury Europe (jointly owned by South African private equity investors Atterbury Property Holdings and Steinhoff International Holdings) and Iulius Group for the development of the Openville Timisoara project and of other such mall extension projects, we can understand that there is definite potential for even greater partnership agreements or joint investments.

Consultancy also represents an area of attractive business for South-African investors, if we are to look at the case of Blue Projects – a consultancy company providing services in the field of design, engineering, project and construction management for the manufacturing, real estate and commercial developments – which is concurrently one of the founding pillars of the Romanian South African Business Association, ROSABA, an initiative set up in 2014 and presided by Mr Neal Barber (president of ROSABA and managing partner of Blue Projects).

In this respect, ROSABA has been a reliable partner in promoting active relations between institutions and representatives of the business community from South Africa and Romania, as it was set up for the purpose of facilitating the development of suitable business opportunities for South-African companies in Romania, as well as of Romanian companies planning to expand to South Africa & SADEC.

A think-tank for bilateral issues, ROSABA currently represents a unique connecting & support body for many businesses on the SA – RO axis, dealing with referrals to potential business partners and providing a reliable forum through which business people could come together and exchange information to develop their mutual interests in both countries.

An example of the flourishing relations between the private and public entities of the two states was, thus, the Trade and Investment Mission organized by ROSABA in October 2016, in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The delegation, which included important Romanian and South-African private companies dealing in agriculture, IT, equity, real estate and retail manufacturing was focused on joint sessions and B2B meetings established with the support of the South-African Embassy in Romania and the Departments of Trade and Industry and of International Relations and Cooperation from South-Africa.

The event helped strengthen and develop business liaisons between private enterprises and contributed to promoting a more accurate image of the main business sectors in each country. As a positive outcome, this October, ROSABA and the South African Embassy in Romania are planning to hold a Trade Mission in Bucharest which will focus mostly on the IT sector, embedding participation in relevant trade fairs and exhibitions and mutually benefiting activities.

As sustainable growth, stimulation of entrepreneurship and active involvement in the business sector are but a few of the challenges both countries are currently facing, undoubtedly the future will bring about enhanced opportunities and higher figures in the investment environment of Romania and South-Africa.

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