A meet and greet was held at Randpark Golf Club for Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to South Africa Salman Al Farisi and the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) was there to welcome him.
CEO of the RCCI Linda Blackbeard said it was a privilege to welcome the ambassador to the country.
She explained that Al Farisi is a senior diplomat in the Indonesian foreign service with wide experience in management and international economic relations among many other accolades.
“We very honoured to have such a distinguished ambassador representing Indonesia in South Africa.”
Blackbeard said the occasion comes at a time in which President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his recent visit to the United Nations, called on Africa’s foreign representatives to shift their focus from political matters to economic development.
This gives added impetus to the chamber’s desire to develop close trade with Indonesia.
He added that Indonesia is the biggest country within the Asian region today and is also a leading country in the developing world.
Blackbeard believes that with good economic relations our two countries can further develop and with the assistance of the new ambassador, can begin to identify concrete business projects together.
As a token of their appreciation, the chamber gifted the ambassador with an honorary certificate of membership.
The chamber’s president, Neil Pollock said it is important to get business people from both countries working together.
“People are naturally born to expand and if we can bring our business people together it will be remarkable how we can expand.”
Pollock was delighted by the new relationship that would form from this gathering.
Ambassador Al Farisi said he has been in the country for about five months and has met with at least four chambers.
He was proud to hear that Randburg is a place where one can find more reliable business people who are keen to develop cooperation with many countries including Indonesia.
“My country’s population is quite big with about 260 million people living there and combined with Asian market that numbers rise to 600 million people.”
Al Farisi added that business with Indonesia means you getting business with a large market.
He said his country’s relationship with ours is a long one with significant connections.
He jokingly added that when he was asked what he would wear to the day’s meeting he said he would wear an Indonesian shirt called batik – a shirt style made famous by Nelson Mandela and was affectionately known by many as the Madiba shirt.
Al Farisi noted how difficult it is for business people and tourists to travel to South Africa as they need two weeks to get a visa, but said he was trying to lobby with the Minister of Home Affairs to give them more lenient visa requirements.
He also said our country’s economic relationship is far below its potential and that, although our trade relationship was growing, it’s also low.
Even with all the work to still be done, he has high hopes for a fruitful relationship with South Africa.