Cape Town – Business representatives in South Africa are advocating for a more diplomatic and less confrontational approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the country prepares to host its American counterparts for a three-day African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum.
The Black Business Council (BBC) and Business Unity South Africa (Busa) argue that continuing with Agoa is in the best interest of both South Africa and the African continent, EWN reported.
The business community hopes for a more constructive dialogue with the US during the summit, aiming for a calmer tone to ensure a stable operating environment.
While the US has aligned with Israel in its actions in Gaza, South Africa’s government has expressed support for Palestine and called for a ceasefire.
20th Agoa Forum: The main concern with the upcoming summit is the “balancing act” that South Africa needs to pull off, to avoid being caught in tensions between China and the US, while still advancing its economic interests. https://t.co/Rnqmo0cqaF
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The BBC’s Gregory Mofokeng expressed eagerness for further discussions with American counterparts to strengthen their working relationship.
“We are hoping to have calmer tones when the US is here so that we can have a much more certain environment within which to operate.”
Busa says that addressing geopolitical issues should primarily be the responsibility of the government, and maintaining relationships with the US is vital for South Africa’s interests.
“We can’t run away from it, it’s a real issue and I think government needs to deal with it in a way that puts South Africa first and makes sure our relationships with the US are maintained, the report quoted Busa’s Cas Coovadia as saying.
The Agoa forum will commence at the Nasrec Expo Centre, potentially highlighting the differences in stance between South Africa and the US on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Compiled by Betha Madhomu