Dutch Companies to Increase Focus on South Africa
Last week, 25 Dutch companies visited South Africa to explore opportunities in digital health, cybersecurity and agricultural innovation. This was the second physical Dutch trade mission to the African continent since the outbreak of the pandemic. Partnerships and deals were shaped in meetings in Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape. The sheer amount of one on one business meetings between the Dutch companies and their South African counterparts is a good reflection of the bounty of business opportunities South Africa. “Face to face interaction is crucial for business to flourish. Trade missions are a very effective tool to generate business contacts and contracts. Agriculture, healthcare and cybersecurity are sectors where we see a lot of potential for growth. This trade mission saw more than 120 one-on-one business meetings take place in one week.” said Han Peters, Ambassador of the Netherlands to South Africa.
Space4Good’s Jessica Immelman shared the following thoughts: ”There is tremendous knowledge in both South Africa and the Netherlands in the field of earth observation technology in agriculture. Together we are investigating how we can optimally apply this in the fight against climate change and drought.”
Real opportunities and concrete business leads were developed in the healthcare sector. Amanda Touw from Spectator Health said that “Spectator [has] established new contacts and accelerated great opportunities to implement the TeleHealth technology in the public and private sector, covering all stages of the patient journey from prevention, positive health, primary care, chronic care and elderly care services.” Spectator Health is a Dutch company offering digital solutions for healthcare professionals to access information needed to efficiently manage and monitor patients and make intelligent care decisions.
Bas Schellevis, Chief Operating Officer at Nedscaper, a cybersecurity company, said: “From our Security Operations Center, located in Cape Town, we service clients from all over the world with our team of Security Analysts, Security Consultants and Security Developers. In the trade mission we developed new business leads and also identified partnership opportunities for local skills development, to help build the digital skills that are indispensable for South Africa’s and the world’s cybersecurity defense.”
It is beneficial to the South African economy and society that the Netherlands and South Africa have strong economic ties, as foreign direct investment (FDI) is a driver of job creation. The Netherlands is South Africa’s second largest source of FDI, with 19,3% of all FDI originating from the Netherlands. According to estimates from 2020, around 350,000 people are employed directly by EU companies operating in South Africa. Data from SARS shows that the Netherlands is South Africa's 7th largest trading partner. In 2021, the value of imports and exports between the two countries was ZAR 85 billion, with a positive trade balance of ZAR 37.6 billion for South Africa.
Contact: Jessica Glendinning, press officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, PRE@minbuza.nl