Could a Chicago-South Africa Collaboration Trigger a Local Economic Upturn?

According to The Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (WESGRO), the State of Illinois is the second largest trading partner in the United States with South Africa.

If you take a look at the exports from the USA TO South Africa, this is not difficult to understand. The majority of the top ten exports are manufacturing based products. Simply stated, the western CapetownProvince is the manufacturing hub of South Africa and the



Midwest is the manufacturing hub of the U.S. says Laura Peinke, Marketing Analyst with WESGRO.

There is a preferential trade agreement - African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) -

between the United States and South Africa to stimulate commerce.

Recently, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (ChicagoMSDC) facilitated one-on-one meetings between WESGRO and companies that manufacture: automotive & aerospace components, micro-engineering components e.g. dental, medical devices etc., boat building, general machinery and equipment e.g. tooling and capital equipment. Included in the meetings were: Altak Inc., Pactrans, LSL Industries, Funk Lingo and others.

After each meeting WESGRO sent a package to each CEO of customized information to further the relationships that had already begun. This information also included ways to set up a presence in South Africa as well as matching US companies with South African companies.

But trade meetings with WESGRO are only one facet of a multi-faceted approach to bridging the gap between Chicago, the Great Lakes Region and South Africa.

Africa is being called the last great investment frontier, says Ambassador Magaqa. Its time for us to see how we can share our knowledge, skills, resources and creativity to empower each other to seize the moment. The benefits of collaboration will flow directly to our communities both here and in Africa in the form of expanded economic opportunity and jobs.

Empowered by the potential of global growth of small, minority and women-owned businesses, Ambassador Magaqa has created the USSAWBF (United States South Africa Womens Business Forum set for October 24-28, 2011 in Chicago.

This forum will focus on the women of the two Medical Equipment Suppliers lands. It is an undisputed fact that empowering women in business is a key to building stronger economies. It is intended to incubate profitable, employment-creating business linkages.

The USSAWBF will build a bridge between the two countries that will contribute to the economic development in both countries, with Chicago as the conduit.

For additional information about South African trade opportunities and the USSAWBF,

Contact ssweiss@thedti.gov.za.

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