As the economy tries to recover the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC hosted its first physical networking session since lockdown. The event was held at the Durban Country Club on Friday, 21 March 2021 and themed “Doing business with Ukraine.”
The session forms part of an MOU signed by the Durban Chamber earlier in the year with the Ukrainian Chamber to enhance business opportunities for both South Africa and Ukraine. The aim of the event was to do business matchmaking between South African and Ukrainian businesses as well as to strengthen trade relations with both countries.
With the current economic challenges, one of our main objectives is to look for new opportunities for our members. These opportunities should bring an impactful change to both the formal and informal sector which range from distribution and partnerships of various products. A couple of months ago Mr Eric Applegreen introduced us to ambassador Abravitova of Ukraine who was very energetic and passionate about wanting to build relations.
She even got South African ambassador Groenewald to come on board with the same zest ensuring that there are great trade relations that will be mutually beneficial to both the Durban business community and Ukraine. I am happy to announce that from the discussions we’ve had there are two possible investment opportunities we are currently engaging on with the Ukrainian business delegation. We are hoping those two investments come into fruition,” said Durban Chamber CEO, Palesa Phili.
The event was also attended by the MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Ravi Pillay, Chairperson of Economic Development, Cllr Sipho Kaunda, Trade & Investment KwaZulu Natal CEO, Mr Neville Matjie, Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Gennadiy Chyzhykov, Ukrainian Deputy Minister, Taras Kachka and UBTA Chairman, Dymtro Los.
“When COVID hit us last year we devised a response with four pillars and the fourth was arguably our most complex pillar which has been to focus on the economy. We knew from the start that while protecting the lives of our people was the first priority, we also had to protect our economy from total collapse. What became clear to us from the beginning was that these plans would require us working with all our social partners in the country and stimulating growth through trade relations with other countries.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, it is our firm belief that it also offers new opportunities for collaboration and trade. Therefore, this visit has come at an opportune time when we are looking at consolidating existing relationships while also building new ones,” said MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Ravi Pillay.
The event had a great turnout, the aim of the event of strengthening trade relationships between the two countries and networking was achieved. “The most important thing is to unite our communities and support each other not only domestically but globally as well. The key purpose of our mission is to know each other. It is only when you know your real counterpart you can understand what is in demand and how we can develop relations,” said Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Gennadiy Chyzhykov.
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