Tony Cimato talks about the Italian Chamber of Trade and Industries

Italy in South Africa Published on 5 February 2017

President of the Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries and President of Efficient Engineering

Italy is a key country in Europe. Why is this the case?

Within the European economy, Italy is famous for fashion and technology. Its technical abilities are very important in Europe, not only for the technology that goes into various products, but also for the very advanced renewable energies. For instance, Italy has shown very high level engineering skills in the design of solar panels, combined with creativity and innovation.

The country is a hub for fashion and design. What are the other attractive assets of the territory?

Italy produces fantastic food and its gastronomy is a market leader not only in Europe but in the rest of the world too. From cheeses, salumi (which are Italian cold meats predominantly made from pork), to the wide wine production, there is a lot to choose from. Everybody in the world loves Italian food!

What is the role of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in South Africa?

The Italian Chamber function is twofold, the first is the promotion and networking between SA companies who are interested in doing business with Italy, the second, is a hub we create to facilitate Italian companies interested in investing or doing business with South African companies. Basically we ease the process. We mostly take care of any business that is generated on a B2B basis. We often receive delegations and provide overall assistance in every business eld. We are at the service of any Italian company requiring assistance.

What are the economic and trade links between South Africa and Italy?

South Africa exports agricultural harvests such as fruits to Italy, whereas Italy exports technology and automotive products. Therefore, the links between the two countries are based on basic and important export needs that help in securing trade.


What role does the Chamber of Commerce play for entrepreneurship in the South African territory?

Today, the Italian community in South Africa is very diverse compared to when my parents came to South Africa. They used to go to the Italian Club to engage with people of the same culture and language. This was their way of networking younger generations are exploring and travelling more, networking is done on a more global scale, all with the assistance of social media and the internet. This is what ICC promotes. We create the common ground for everybody who wants to deal with Italy and we are here to facilitate the function. Every year, the Chamber hosts a black tie affair, known as ‘The Business Man of the Year’. This award acknowledges the. achievements of captains of industry, entrepreneurs but also up and coming young businessmen, all of whom have an Italian heritage.
Although today entrepreneurship is less common, since the younger generation opts to study, and this has produced more professionals that tend to populate the corporate environment. Therefore, to accommodate this trend, we have included an award for an Italian person (professional or entrepreneur) who emerges for outstanding achievement within the community. This year’s event has been sponsored by FNB. The Italian community in SA comprised of roughly 70,000 people. We are not the biggest but we are one of the communities who contribute the most.

What are the goals of the Chamber of Commerce for the year 2016-2017?

We often work with delegations, organize B2B and breakfast networking functions during which we establish the needs and offer solutions, in order to assist on the go. We are extremely exible and adapt ourselves to whatever need, to make ourselves a sustainable entity. We feel we contribute in adding value to any company or entity that wishes to invest or trade in South Africa. We do this in the form of advice in terms of SA business law, banking and regulation. South Africa is the most stable country in Africa and this promotes the gateway to Africa, a starting point to any business wishing to explore Africa. Therefore, our focus this year is to showcase our infrastructures and how we can assist European business in Africa.

Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries

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