S/Africa exports over $110m worth of COVID-19 sanitizers

South Africa's firms producing hand sanitizers are smiling all the way to the bank after exporting US$111 million of the…

South Africa’s firms producing hand sanitizers are smiling all the way to the bank after exporting US$111 million of the products to fellow African states since the outbreak of the pandemic this year, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday.Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel released data on the country’s exports of hand sanitizer products exported to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Botswana.

According to Patel, between June and November 2020, exports of hand sanitizers were also sent to 25 other African countries.

The minister’s office said South African manufacturers for hand sanitizer have been building significant trading ties with fellow African countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At the start of the pandemic, South Africa faced a shortage of hand sanitizers and industry worked with government to expand local production,” Patel said.

He attributed the success to measures introduced by the South African government to regulate the export of hand sanitizers to ensure adequate local capacity and to encourage exports to other African countries.

“As soon as sufficient capacity was built up for local use, our International Trade Administration Commission issued permits to local companies to export their products to other African countries,” Patel said.

He said the pandemic disrupted global supply chains, and this encouraged local production and innovation.

“South Africa has the continent’s largest diversified industrial base and was able to use local know-how to roll out on scale the production of critical personal protective equipment, like sanitizers.

“As we build a more resilient economy, we will rely more on local innovation and industrial capacity.

“The legacy of Covid-19 is to underscore the importance of localisation, to create more jobs and enhance economic output,” Patel said.