Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Saturday, January 18, 2014 Under: Conferences & Events

Sandton-Johannesburg: The South Africa-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce had their Annual General Meeting on Thursday 21st November 2013 at the Pool deck area, Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Johannesburg. About thirty-eight chamber members representing more than 30 companies were present. The Nigerian High Commissioner, Ambassador Sunday Yusuf was the special guest at the event.

Mrs. Dianna Games the Honorary CEO of the Chamber steered the activity of the day. She gave a brief rundown about the chamber and its activities. Dianna went on to introduce Deon Bruwer the President of the Chamber who took the center stage and gave a detailed rundown of achievements and activities of the chamber for the year 2013.

In Mr. Bruwer’s opening statement, he stressed the fact that the continent is definitely happening and we don’t need people from other continent to show us how to do business in Africa. “I think we witnessed all growth aspect and a reform is currently taking place in the increasing multi polo world, but for me, it’s where do we go from here? What’s the future? What do we stand for in share values? that’s something interesting we will just touch on now. Are we just there for visas for the chamber? Or do we promote business and make sure that corporate business is in place to invest in Nigeria and that your investment is safe”, he asked. 

In his analysis of the progress made by the chamber in 2013, Mr. Bruwer identified the increase in the chambers’ membership. According to him, there was 49 members in 2011, 64 in 2012 but jumped massively to 91 members in 2013. To him, one of the reasons for increase is the coming onboard of new companies. He also noted that visas doubled at the chambers; there was a decrease from 50 visas in 2011 to 18 in 2012. “I think we had the yellow fever issue and all the other things that went with it that didn’t worth it, then, visas jumped massively this year to 426”.

Mr. Brouwer also recounted the chamber’s achievements in organizing and participating in key events with key Nigerian officials and organizations. “The chamber events hosted this year included the Ministerial breakfast with the Finance Minister Ngozi Ewela and Minister of Tourism Chief Edem Duke. Also, with officials from Delta State who we had a very successful breakfast meeting with. Then we had the Independence Day breakfast with the Guild of Nigerian professionals, it was also very successful”.

 “The events the chambers participated in this year are the Nigerian – South Africa business forum in Cape Town, we were represented by some of our board members. I think for everyone it was a great event”. He also stated “The Logic Africa conference was a success where we spoke about the challenges of doing business in Nigeria. We had some of our board members from South Africa to Nigeria, more than 59 visits this year by the board members alone”.

Dion also touched on the state visit of President Jonathan Goodluck which, he said was highly successful.

In moving forward and planning ahead, Mr. Brouwer gave a brief about the future plans of the Chamber and what will be expected from members. “We are setting up chambers committee to dissect certain areas of the business, this committee will start next year and it will add a lot of value. There are 3 committees; membership committee, events and sponsorship committee and finance committee. These are the kind of things we think and believe you guys can participate in and add value and we as a chamber can all benefit from and definitely it will be a win-win situation”, said the out-going President.

He also added that “We are discussing an exciting initiative for companies to participate, for instance, send graduates from here to Nigeria or from Nigeria to here to train at free cost. It’s a nice inter-exchange and we can give young people hope. I think if a young person finds his root in the business world and the chamber played an active role in that, we will be making good ambassadors for the chamber forever”.

In his conclusion, Dion emphatically stated that “we still have a long road ahead of us, I have said it many times in board meetings and all over, we don’t need people from other continent to tell us how to do business in Africa, we can do it ourselves if we all work together in the same direction. And what I always say to my professional people, if it gets tough, it will, and it always does, it’s a blessing in disguise. I guess if it was easy the whole world will be in Africa, so see it as a blessing and if you do have challenges come to the board, if we can’t help you, somebody in the board or some of our other members will know something and it’s like a family, we move in the same direction, we can only help each other, you don’t have to try and trash it out on your own.”

In : Conferences & Events 

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