Despite a huge potential, Bangladesh-South Africa trade potentials are still untapped, said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.
"The amount of trade can be multiplied by diversifying and broadening imports and exports," Abdul Momen told a webinar organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Thursday.
South African international relations Minister Grace Naledi M Pandor also spoke at the event as the guest of honour.
Admitting that the volume of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and South Africa is negligible, she urged Bangladeshi companies to expand operations in her country.
In the 2020-21 fiscal year, Bangladesh imported goods from South Africa worth $130 million as Dhaka's export stood at $110 million, according to the foreign ministry.
Abdul Momen said South African investors may invest in Bangladesh special economic zones and hi-tech parks.
"Apart from this, entrepreneurs from both countries may establish joint ventures in different sectors such as readymade garments, jute, pharmaceuticals, leather, food, agro-processing, plastic and chemical products. The ventures would provide work opportunities to Bangladeshis and South Africans," he said.
The foreign minister said Bangladeshi companies have started to expand their businesses in different African nations and a pharma company has already started its operation in Kenya.
Abdul Momen said South African entrepreneurs can share their experience with Bangladeshi entrepreneurs as the African nation has diversified the manufacturing industry.
His counterpart Grace Naledi emphasised co-operation for national park development, halal trade and cricket. She said South Africa has developed expertise on national park management and global recognition of halal food production.
She noted that Bangladesh has an amazing story to tell. "Bangladesh is well on its way to achieve 'Sonar Bangla' as the country is now called a development miracle."
About opening the South African embassy in Dhaka, the South African minister said her country will look for expanding consular facilities such as providing visa services to Bangladeshis in Dhaka so that they "do not require to look at the South African embassy in New Delhi".
But she said South Africa currently does not have any plan to open a mission in Bangladesh.
Major General Md Emdad-Ul-Bari, director general of BIISS, delivered the welcome speech at the event.