Baku Trade and Investment Seminar

Opening Remarks to the 1st South Africa-Azerbaijan Trade and Investment Seminar, 27 February 2018

President of the Investment Promotion Foundation, Mr Rufat Mammadov

President of the Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Niyaz Ali-zada

Ambassador Ms Joyini

Delegates from the Business Community in Azerbaijan

Delegates from the Business Community from South Africa

I greet you.

Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to another of my countries of accreditation. Many of you will not know that I am the non-resident Ambassador accredited to Azerbaijan.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to host in cooperation with the Investment Promotion Foundation and the Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry the first South African Trade and Investment Seminar in Azerbaijan.

Our countries have had diplomatic relations for many years and South Africa continues to focus on building and strengthening our relations. One of the ways we will be doing this is through trade and investment.

It is however imperative that we learn about each other, both as peoples of different countries and cultures but also about what opportunities our countries hold for each other.

Often business is the most efficient way of doing so. It is government’s mandate to provide an enabling environment to build relations, but it is up to business to take the relationship forward in tangible ways which translate into benefit for both our peoples through mutual cooperation and joint ventures.

South Africa continues to build the legacy we started in 1994 after the fall of the apartheid government and the first democratic elections. South Africa has undergone and continues to undergo many challenges in addressing the wrongs of the past.

We recently had a change of President. This was done in an orderly and procedural manner and in line with the Constitution of South Africa as well as the Constitution of the ruling party, the African National Congress.  We are pleased that the democratic traditions which were started under President Nelson Mandela continue today.

2018 is the Centenary year of the birth of President Nelson Mandela. The theme, BE THE LEGACY, focuses on Nelson Mandela as a unique statesman, a leader, a fighter against injustice and inequality and as a man who despite his weaknesses as a human being, as indeed we all are and have our weaknesses, still strived to be the best person he could be. Not just for himself, but for the people of his country and the people of the world.

Colleagues – our work here today should keep that aim in mind. That we are here to build relations and do the best we can for the people of our countries. And thus, by leading by example we can also be seen to be doing the best for others and thus inspire them to do the same.

I wish you every success today and in our future relations. May we go from strength to strength.  

Thank you.


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