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Zuma calls on IORA countries to support SMMEs

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President Jacob Zuma has urged leaders from over 20 countries attending the Indian Ocean Rim Association summit (IORA) to support small and medium enterprises as catalysts for increased economic growth and job creation.

He was speaking at the IORA leaders’ summit which Indonesian President Joko Widodo officially opened in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Tuesday morning.

The two day meeting is attended by over 20 countries bordering the Indian Ocean. They include among others Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Mauritius among others.

Zuma says the support for small businesses is necessary considering the uncertainty of the current global economic outlook.

He says government’s decision to use the ocean for the creation of jobs and the promotion of economic growth is beginning to bear fruit.

In 2014, the government adopted the nine-point plan which among others actively promotes the economic development from the oceans. It launched Operation Phakisa on the Ocean Economy in a bid to explore ways of using the country’s sea to revitalise the economy.

The President says he is happy that the plan is surely yielding results. Zuma has also used the occasion to urge business leaders from 21 countries bordering the Indian Ocean to explore ways of using the ocean to grow their economies.

He says the Indian Ocean has the potential to change the economies of on the Indian Ocean Rim.

This was a proud moment for the African continent

His Indonesian counterpart, Widodo on the other hand urged small and medium business enterprises to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the sea.

He says despite the challenges of piracy which is rife off the shores of countries like Somalia, the Indian Ocean presents huge economic opportunities for people living on its shores.

All the 21 countries bordering the Indian Ocean have vowed to ensure sustainable and equitable growth in their region for the benefit of their people. They have adopted four documents encouraging peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region which focus on amongst others the prevention of Terrorism and Violent Extremism and a plan for the future.

Zuma also took time to congratulate the Ghanaian people on their independence day. In 1957, Ghana became the first African country to gain independence from Britain. Since then it has been a model of democracy and beacon of hope for other African countries.

President Zuma says this was a proud moment for the African continent.

The summit will end on Tuesday with South Africa taking the chairmanship of the 21 member grouping and on Wednesday the South African delegation will begin its one day state visit to the country.

[Source: SABC]
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