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Ecco Chamber

Fortnightly Italian news made in South africa


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@ LIEVITA Cape Town

Chamber's Note

Quarterly Trade Report

Parity Party During Q1

Data coming in for the first four months of 2024 show a reduced flow of South African exports and increased imports, creating a near parity in the country’s trade balance for the first quarter of 2023. The small trade deficit of $68-million dollars is the first trade deficit since Q1 of 2019.

The tilting of the balance is accounted for by a $1-billion dollar trade deficit during January this year and in the ensuing months South Africa has resumed registering a surplus in trade. Prior to this, South Africa was consistently registering healthy trade surpluses but the shift in fortunes is accounted for by a marked reduction in exports. This reduction is partly but not entirely owing to a reduced demand for raw materials such as precious stones and ore.

Overall there is not evidence of any major change in either exports or imports. The relatively buoyant trade figures are, however, put into a more sober light by the phenomenon of inflation over the last year and a half, meaning that the quantity of actual goods procured are in fact likely to be lower. Furthermore, the trade impact of the currently high interest rates and the weak rand will remain to be seen.

In this regard, Italy followed the same trend as the rest of the world, reducing imports of South African products, particularly precious stones, during Q1 after a record year last year. Numerous sectors nevertheless show real growth including copper, mineral fuels, vegetables, beverages and cereals, all of which registered at least a million dollars worth of annual trade and annual growth of more than 20% between 2018 and 2022.

South Africa’s imports of Italian products proved to be robust during the first quarter of this year, with Italian fertiliser showing particularly strong growth in SA, alongside clothing and confectionary.  In theory the weakened Rand should dampen imports from Europe and boost exports but evidence does not yet back this. Even before the last months of weakening, the Rand had weakened by more than 25% to the Euro. One reason that this may not have benefitted exporters, is the dependence of larger manufacturers on machinery from Europe and other developed markets.

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EU-Botswana Business Forum

Networking and Presentation Session

Monday 24 July

Hilton Sandton, 138 Rivonia Road

An exclusive presentation for the highly anticipated EU-Botswana Business Forum (EBBF) on 11-12 October 2023 in Gaborone, Botswana.

The session is a platform for fostering collaboration and dialogue between key stakeholders.

It will provide valuable insights into the thriving business opportunities.

It is a networking opportunity to Create, Connect & Collaborate.


14:00 Arrival, Welcome and Networking

14:30 Opening & Introduction | EUD Mrs Delphine Aupicon / Chambers of Commerce

14:45 Presentation of the EU Botswana Business Forum | EBBF Event Manager, Mr Pierre Chapusette

15:15 Presentation of the Global Expo Botswana and General Overview about Botswana | Mr Thomas Molebatsi, Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC)

15:30 Questions and Answers

15:40 Closing Remarks | Mr Rui Marto, EU Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Southern Africa

15:50 Ends

For reservations, please email:

Welcoming our new member:

Natura Energy is a sponsor, developer and owner of independent power generation projects.


The company is based both in South Africa and Namibia where it is currently engaged in the development of the first phase of a 150MW solar PV project in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality of the Eastern Cape, and of a 81MW solar PV project in the town of Arandis in the Erongo Region of Namibia.


Natura Energy’s know-how is in the effective understanding and the efficient management of the multiple project variables necessary to successful implementation of complex infrastructure projects funded by leveraged Non-Recourse Project Finance models. The company focuses on developing partnerships with technical, financial and advisory service providers and builds these strategic alliances on a project-by-project basis.

The Parsons Power Park solar PV project in Gqeberha will sell competitively priced electricity to private offtakers connected to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal grid, whilst the TeraSun Energy project in Namibia, will be exporting all its production to the SADC regional power system via the Southern African Power Pool.

Natura Energy is always open to consider project co-development opportunities and partnerships in similar projects in the region.

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Alla prossima!

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