About 70 members of the 6 bilateral European chambers that are part of the EU Chamber attended the networking cocktail that took place on Thursday 12 May. There were also about 10 guests from the EU Delegation, from various EU Trade Commissions and from the EU-SA Partners for Growth project.

Rui Marto, the President of the EU Chamber, opens the event by introducing the EU chamber, its role, its mission and the work it does, insisting on the advocacy and achievements so far. He invites the German and the French chambers to join it, they will be welcome with open arms. He gives an overview of the collaborations and upcoming events. He finishes his presentation with the insight into the latest Investment climate survey. He confirms that the analysis of the survey will be shared with the members of the Chambers and discussed with the DTIC in the near future.

Raul de Luzenberger takes the floor to present “Team Europe”. He starts with an overview of the trade relations between the EU and SA, highlighting that in 2021, the trade balance was in favour of SA. He explains the competence of the EU in trade and investment. Europe remains the first actor in FDI in South Africa, well in front of China. In terms of trade, the role of the EU is to engage with the local authorities to discuss trade barriers and impediments and it is Roberto Ceccuti and his team who are in charge of this.

Finally Rui Marto introduces Nadège Hopman, the deputy head of the regional representation for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. The EIB is the bank of the EU, working hand in hand with Team Europe. Last year, they financed close to R98 billion outside of the European Union. They mainly land money to banks, who in turn, lend the money to corporates. The projects that are financed are mainly large infrastructure projects (we are talking of project of €30 million and above). In South Africa, there is very limited activity of the EIB but they are hopeful that financing of projects will happen in the future.

Rui Marto thanks the guest speakers and calls the representatives of the Belgian, Spanish and Irish chambers that are in attendance to present them to the audience. He apologises on behalf of the Italian and Nordic chambers who could not be present at the event.