A high-level South African government delegation will visit four Indian cities this week to study India’s success in small business development to improve employment and eradicate poverty in South Africa.

“South Africa and India are both developing countries confronted by similar economic development challenges.

However, the latest developments have indicated that India has progressed impressively in the area of informal business development and it is in relation to these that we are undertaking this visit,” Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe, who is leading the delegation, said in a statement.

The ten-day visit, in which the Deputy Minister is accompanied by senior departmental officials and several agencies of her ministry, will see the delegation visit Kerala, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi to explore among other things the connectivity of rural economies to the mainstream economic activity in India.

Thabethe as well as other South African leaders have previously expressed a desire to replicate the broadband model in rural India to South Africa.

“The officials will be part of the team that will be providing technical support in the benchmarking exercise and to acquire best practices from the various Indian scenarios presented and to learn from the successful initiatives,” said the department.

Several key Indian institutions will present solutions for South African SMMEs on key challenges such as access to finance technology and market development.

This will be Thabete’s second trip to India as leader of a delegation in the past six months.

In March, she led a business delegation to India on an Investment and Trade Initiative, whose aim was to create market penetration for South African value-added products and services in India and to promote South Africa as a trade and investment destination.

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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