What really happens when South African leaders go on trips overseas

Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe has given a candid interview on the process taken by government when inviting business and leadership on overseas trade delegations.

In an exclusive interview with Business Day, Motlanthe said that trade trips abroad are not as ‘properly prepared’, or as well organised, as many might believe.

He said that Trade and Industry holds the responsibility to arrange which companies and businessmen go on international trips with government heads.

“They have on their database (of) business companies and personalities and they are the ones we invite on each trip, business people, that are invited to be on this entourage accompanying the President to such and such a country.

“But there’s no prior work conducted as to what opportunities exist in such a country for South African companies and which are those companies.”

“Are they interested in those opportunities and so on? And what opportunities exist in South Africa for Indian companies – and in which areas and which are those leading companies – so that these visits can achieve more than just photo-shoot opportunities and so on.”

“I’m talking from experience,” the former ANC deputy president said.

He said that there are High Commissioners and Ambassadors on the ground in foreign countries, as well as Department of Trade and Industry staff – “people who are in those countries, who should…whose task is to identify opportunities, speak to the business community there and identify the opportunities”.

“I’m saying there’s a gap that, you know, the conversation is not happening,” Motlanthe told Business Day.

Reade the full interview here as published by Business Day.

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What really happens when South African leaders go on trips overseas