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Ecco Chamber

Fortnightly Italian news made in South Africa

 II edition January 2024


A Keyhole into Coffee

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Back to Work 2024




EU Chamber



Chamber's Note


Coffee is a modern day elixir and a booming business too. Historians in the future will do worse than use coffee as a keyhole looking into modern society, its daily practices and its global economy. Looking into coffee’s production and distribution spells a story of both inequality and environmental destruction. It also spells a story of art and socialisation.


Noting that the original consumers of coffee were Sufi mystics consuming it in arabia as a psychoactive drink, one could venture to remark on its almost spiritual role in modern life, its consumption linking things as central as moods, work, sleep and social interactions. 

Coffee originated in the rift valley of Africa, in Ethiopia and was originally consumed for its fruit and not its seeds. After some time, it began to be cultivated in Yemen and spread via the trade routes through Africa, Asia and Europe, especially through the Ottoman empire.

Today coffee is a global household and workplace staple, including in South Africa. Its global value chain, worth around  €500-billion, makes for fascinating, if not distressing analysis. For example, farmers of coffee earn 3 cents from $3 cappucino. meaning only 1% of the value is the cultivation of the bean. The other 99% consists of some combination of distribution, roasting, packaging, marketing and more.

In recent research conducted by Italcham into South Africa’s coffee sector, it was established that South Africa’s coffee market has experienced constant growth for more than a decade, with total consumption increasing by around 30% between 2017 and 2023.

South Africa only produces a small percentage of its own coffee and during 2022 imported 20-thousand tons of coffee, to the value of €35-million. What’s more is that more than €7-million of this coffee came from Italy accounting for just about 20% of South Africa’s coffee.

Italy ranks 5th in South Africa’s supply of coffee, behind Switzerland, Vietnam, Brazil and Tanzania - in that order. Switzerland, as the top coffee exporter to South Africa, and one of the top five globally, strikes one as odd, as Switzerland does not grow a single coffee bean. Neither does Italy.

Without the correct conditions for growing coffee, what is the connection between Italy and this almost sacred bean? This is an old, fascinating and sweeping historical story. In Italy, like in most of Europe, coffee arrived in the second half of the 1500s century through the trade routes of the Mediterranean. In 1580 some of Italy’s first imported coffee came into the Republic of Venice from Egypt, and soon coffee shops (which are as old as the story of coffee itself) started opening one by one.

Some representatives of the Catholic Church, ever powerful in Italy, opposed the introduction of coffee, believing it to be the "Devil's drink", but Pope Clement VIII, after trying the aromatic drink himself, gave it his blessing, thus further boosting its commercial success and distribution.

In Turin, in 1933, Alfonso Bialetti invented the first moka pot by observing the lisciveuse, a steam pot utilized at that time for laundry. In 1946 his son Renato started industrial production, selling millions of moka pots in one year, versus only 70000 sold by his father in the previous 10, making the coffee maker (as well as coffee) an icon of Italy in the world. 

If nothing else, looking into the keyhole onto the world of coffee, one is struck by just how much there is to discover when one asks questions about the everyday. All around us, mundane things are products of a fascinating history. A greater truth lies underneath. At Italcham, when we conduct this market research, we seek to uncover the true dynamics of the world so as to act better in it.




Tonight, 25th January 2024 from 18.30

The Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries

is pleased to present

the Back to Work 2024 Aperilink at the Italian Club Johannesburg!

The Sala Campari will be staged to welcome our guests.

Bring your friends, partners and colleagues and be part of an evening of business networking, live music entertainment, great welcome drink, and the best Italian food.

Don't miss it, see you tonight!

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Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled to take place in May/June 2024, on a date still to be confirmed.


As part of the preparations of the AGM, the nominations for non-executive directors need to be finalised for nominations to be put to the AGM.


Your Company is hereby invited to submit nominations for non-executive directors to serve on the Board of The Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries NPC (“ItalChamSA”).


The eligibility criteria for a nomination to be accepted, are as follows:


  • Paid up membership of ItalChamSA

  • Relevant board experience or sector experience and expertise required of a person eligible for appointment to a Board of Directors

  • Availability to attend board meetings and participate in the strategic management of ItalChamSA

  • The candidate must be a senior legal representative of a member company

  • As ItalChamSA’s main objects are to promote and develop trade, commercial, tourist and other interests between South Africa and Italy, either the member company must be Italian-owned (or its majority shareholder should be of Italian nationality) or the member company’s  appointee must be of Italian nationality

  • We would encourage female applications in order to foster diversity on our Board


In terms of the MOI, the Nominations Committee of the ItalChamSA Board will interview prospective nominees to assess the qualifications, experience and suitability of any person who has applied or is proposed to be admitted as a Director on the Board in order to fill a particular vacancy with the set of skills required by the Board from time to time.


ItalChamSA is a non-profit company and the directors are not remunerated for their services to the Board.


All nominations must be submitted to the Secretary General, with an updated Curriculum Vitae, by replying to this email address ( by no later than end of February.

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Only by invitation

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As an active member of the EU Chamber, ItalCham has been collaborating with Home Affairs and the Office of the Presidency to expedite outstanding business and work Visa applications.

We were encouraged in late December to get additional feedback from our members and stakeholders with regard to pending visa applications (and the many issues around it).


If you are aware of any problematic applications, please flag them to us as a matter of urgency, by submitting the information indicated on the form below to

This includes applications that were rejected, were unreasonably delayed, or are outstanding for a long time. Any applications that are critical to investment and are urgent can also be included in your submission.





Once we have your feedback, we will engage with DHA and Presidency to discuss all pending issues.

We would appreciate your swift cooperation in submitting accurate and timely information.

Here’s to a positive start to the new year! Happy 2024!

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Important Safety and Security Changes:
EU Entry Procedures
for Goods

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The European Union’s new customs pre-arrival safety and security system – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) – will introduce a process for entry of goods by maritime and inland waterways, road and rail in the EU, including Norway, Northern Ireland, and Switzerland,

as of 3 June 2024.

This is the third phase or release of the implementation of the new system that will extend safety and security data reporting requirements to all modes of transport. Similar requirements already went into force for air transportation of goods.

Affected companies need to take note of their dedicated deployment window since the connection to ICS2 will take place gradually, depending on the transport mode, from 3rd June 2024 to

1st September 2025.

EU Member States will grant authorisation, upon request, to the affected traders to gradually connect to ICS2 within

a time-limited deployment window.

For further technical information, click the buttons below:


A video is also available at the following link:

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SIGEP - 45th International Trade Show of Artisan Gelato, Pastry, Bakery and the Coffee World is the world's leading B2B event to discover the latest news, innovations and trends in the Dessert and Coffee Food Service Industry: raw materials and ingredients, machinery and equipment, furnishings, packaging and services.

On 20-24 January over 450 international foreign operators were hosted at Rimini Expo Centre thanks to the collaboration of ITA – Italian Trade Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

ItalCham was present at the 45th edition of SIGEP and we would like to thank our buyers for the wonderful experience we shared!

Thank you to Anisa Choonara (Doppio Zero, Pizza e Vino, Ciccio Restaurant), Giuseppe "Pino" di Benedetto and Ramiro "Miro" Marques (Settebello) and to Chris Phiri (Cheristone Products). 

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5 - 7 March 2024
Cape Town International Convention Centre

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The Africa Energy Indaba 2024 is the definitive energy conference for Africa providing an annual programme that shapes energy policy for the African continent. Delegates drawn from all over the world represent an unparalleled combination of industry experts, CEOs, project developers, financiers, energy users, government officials and manufacturers.

With more than 4000 participants, 37+ African countries represented, 156+ speakers and 200+ exhibitor stands, the Africa Energy Indaba is a unique forum to advance opportunities and projects.

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Reasons to attend the Africa Energy Indaba 2024:

  • Learn from the industry leaders the changing energy landscape in South Africa

  • Meet and connect with sector specialists

  • Learn about the future of energy

  • Do business via business networking with high-level attendees, speakers, sponsors and investors at the event

  • Discover the latest technologies: evolving grid technologies (e.g. micro, mini and off-grid solutions), renewable and cleaner energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles

  • Explore opportunities in Africa.

For more info on this event visit:

To book a stand please contact:
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Job Board

There is one new job vacancy on the SMILE Job Portal:​

You will find where to apply on the above link.

View these and other job vacancies on the SMILE website via this link - CLICK HERE

If you are currently hiring, please take a look at SMILE vetted candidates HERE




Alla prossima!

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