South Africa's haven from debt crisis is Africa: minister
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday urged local companies to do business with other African economies to counter the effects of the debt crisis in the West.
"Our businesses need to do more business with Africa, where there are still substantial levels of growth," Gordhan told journalists on his return from the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.
Gordhan said the contagion from the debt crisis in the eurozone had already heightening downward risks for emerging markets and developing economies.
"Weaker global demand might affect commodity prices and levels of global trade across the world," he said.
South Africa's largest trading partners are currently China, the United States and the European Union, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
Gordhan said South Africa welcomed efforts by European countries to address the sovereign debt crisis and restore confidence.
He said there was recognition at the Washington meetings that "we are living in a dangerous world."
He also said South Africa would have to fight to save jobs, something he said the government was already working to do.
Gordhan said manufacturing jobs in South Africa could be affected by what was happening in the eurozone, as 44 percent of the country's trade flowed to Europe.
The eurozone economy was expected to grow just 1.6 percent in 2011 and 1.1 percent in 2012, leading to diminished demand, he said.
© 2011 AFP