Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
August 2006
The Wisconsin/Southern Africa Connection

Did you know that South Africa is one of Wisconsin's top 25 export destinations? In 2005 Wisconsin firms shipped over $83 million worth of products there. That is more than was shipped to Russia, Norway, New Zealand, or Israel.

Firms interested in initiating or expanding sales to the dynamic markets of southern Africa should attend one of two briefings to be conducted by Richard Zurba, Director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors Trade Office in South Africa.

Thursday, September 21, 2006
9:00-11:00 am
Wisconsin Department of Commerce
1st floor conference room
201 West Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53703

or

Friday, September 22, 2006
9:00-11:00 am
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
Wisconsin Room
756 North Milwaukee Street, #400
Milwaukee., WI 53202

The countries of southern Africa and the nearby Indian Ocean islands are among the fastest growing export markets for the Great Lakes states. The Republic of South Africa has seen remarkable political and economic transition since the move to complete democracy in 1994. South Africa's annual economic growth has averaged 3 percent over the last decade and is projected to surpass 4.5 percent in 2006. The country is the largest producer of diamonds, platinum, gold, and chromium. South Africa's per capita GDP is $12,000. It accounts for 25 percent of the entire continent's GDP. Mauritius and Botswana are two other countries in the region that have been in the top ten in world economic growth over the past decades. Mauritius has become an entry point for India, as well as other markets. Energy rich Angola and Mozambique also offer unique export opportunities. The benefits of a relatively transparent business culture, ease of movement of people and capital, free press, political and economic freedoms, limited bureaucracy, and English as a business language make southern Africa a choice market for consumer and commercial goods from around the world. Prospects for the future are bright.

The Southern Africa Trade Office was established in 1998 and provides a wide range of export-related services to firms from New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin was a participant in the office from its opening until 2003. The Council of Great Lakes Governors is considering sponsoring a trade mission to the region in 2007.

The briefings are free of charge, but to ensure adequate space and handouts, please register by contacting Tru Mwololo, tmwololo@commerce.state.wi.us, ph: (608) 267-0587. Please provide names, titles, and e-mail addresses of attendees as well as the name of your business or organization. Mr. Zurba will be available for a limited number of one-on-one appointments with businesses seeking more in-depth consultations about doing business in southern Africa. Contact Tru Mwololo for more information about the one-on-one meetings.

-- Stanley Pfrang

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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