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"Siyenza Management is a multi-faceted marketing and communications agency established to service the African business community, Our focus is to bring people together using a host of different business platforms to encourage debate, interaction and ultimately to change the way business is conducted. Siyenza offers full service marketing, communication, brand architecture and event management services to both the corporate client and to government. Siyenza owns a number of leading events which debate and discuss issues relevant to African business."
What is this forum about?
"The China Africa Business Forum is aimed at unlocking the potential of trade between Africa and China. There are major cultural and business barriers in place between the 2 major economies and it is important that we open the channels of communication and understanding to harness the trade potential. The Forum provides the necessary platform to engage, debate, meet and develop an understanding of the business opportunities available."
What is the main topic for discussion?
"There is not a central topic but many aspects that will be under discussion to unpack the opportunity to trade with China."
Who is attending this forum?
"Government representatives, Chinese business representatives, diplomats and officials, African business representatives."
How has the China Africa relations been so far?
"In 2010, China-Africa trade exceeded USD 100 billion and predictions indicate that it will continue to grow exponentially. As an indication, in the second quarter of 2010, exports from China were approximately USD 13bn, while Angola (USD 12.5bn), South Africa (USD 6bn), and Sudan (USD 3.5bn) were China’s three largest African importers. South Africa’s Standard Bank forecasts that Chinese investment in Africa is likely to reach USD 50 billion by 2015, an increase of 70% compared to the figures of 2009."
What is unique about this event?
"The event is unique in that we have a strategic partnership in place with The Beijing Axis, who have offices located in Beijing as well as South Africa and are very experienced at bringing together and understanding the trade opportunities between the trade economies."
What has been the biggest business challenge so far?
"The challenge is to constantly ensure that the event is topical, addresses the real issues and to make sure it attracts the correct quality delegates."
What will you advice young entrepreneurs interested in starting their first business?
"To understand that running a business is not a 9 to 5 job and it requires dedication and determination. We all start and do not have all the answers but having a team of mentors to help and to seek direction certainly helps. Ultimately, to run a business with integrity and confidence to deliver, this makes all the difference."
What does the event hope to achieve?
"The event aims to expand trade between China and Africa."
Any other information you wish to say to our readers?
"China and Africa pose major opportunities for businesses to expand and forge solid trading partnerships. Issues around culture and understanding do need to be addressed, but the expansion and potential is undeniable. We encourage business to participate at this forum."
This interview is in a series on doing business in Africa. This interview series is powered by Africa Business Communities and VC4Africa.