SA businesspeople confident Cuba leads will flourish into tangible opportunities

The South African businesspeople who showcased locally-made products and services at the 2017 Havana International Fair (FIHAV) in Cuba are confident that the leads secured during the week-long expo will eventually flourish into tangible business opportunities.

The Managing Director of East London-based Ezabathembu Chemical Company (ECC) specialising in hygiene products, Mr Lusani Makalima remarked that his brand expansion ambitions stood a good chance in Cuba as a market with possibilities.

“The similarities that exist between our countries are putting chances of success in very high regard. We had ambitions of expanding our brand into a market that is very similar to ours in a sense that hygiene is paramount everywhere. I was not particularly trying to sell my products to the walk-in public but I wanted to establish contact with businesses. I met quite a few people in the industry as well as a businessperson who represented 14 companies in Cuba. We have already had discussions but we are going to further our conversation to explore what business opportunities there are that we could collaborate on,” he said.

In addition, Makalima stated that he was looking forward to returning to South Africa for him to begin with follow-ups on leads secured.

The South African Boatbuilders Export Council’s (SABBEX) Mr Nathan Laubscher said he was impressed by the large number of people who visited his stand.

“To take matters forward we will engage more with the market of the charter-build businesses that own the boatbuilding businesses and explore more business-to-business meetings to ensure that we engage and market to the right people,” said Laubscher.

The owner of Worthway Coating, Mr Caleb Sampi said that he was hopeful that Cuba would serve as gateway where he can expand his Bowser mobile tank system to the Caribbean market.

“My Bowser tanks provide for affordable, fast and efficient movement of water or fuel to any areas where needed in the day-to-day running of farming operations. Cuba being a developing country that is still gaining its footing to adapt to new-age farming methods stand to benefit from what I have to offer with my product. I am also hopeful that Cuba will serve as a gateway to the Americas economy where I can launch and expand my Bowser footprint,” he said.

The Havana International Fair (FIHAV) is the largest annual multi-sector trade fair taking place annually since 1983. It is the most general trade fair in Cuba and the Caribbean as well as one of the most representatives from Latin America.

Source: The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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