The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) recently hosted an evening during its India Week, where the highlight of the evening, aside from a robust panel discussion, was the official launch of a coffee table book, ‘India & South Africa Trade & Investment Partners’. The Iconic Group, the owner of Wag the Dog Publishers (which publishes The Media Online and The Media, among other titles), was involved in conceptualising, creating and producing this offering.

Sandra Gordon, CEO of Wag the Dog Publishers, spoke at the event about the process behind the creation of the book as well what she learnt along the way.

“Indian people have a love of the printed word and recognise its power,” she explained. Admitting that perseverance was required by the book’s contributors, Gordon added, “The seriousness with which the featured companies in the book participated was a revelation to me. I’ve often had to do corporate profiles in magazines and online publications before and it’s often difficult to get people to take the matter seriously. Not one of the individuals that we spoke to, from the biggest Indian companies operating in this country, didn’t co-operate fully and give us access to their top people and to photograph their premises.”

Govin Reddy, editor of the coffee table book, said that the one thing that hits you about India is its size. “The population of South Africa’s three biggest cities, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, is less than Mumbai.”

Surprisingly, Reddy also revealed that India is only South Africa’s seventh biggest trade partner. “Given our strong cultural and political ties, the gap shouldn’t be as wide as that.” He would like to see South Africa export more manufactured goods, as opposed to raw materials, and also commented on the dire situation South Africa finds itself in with its growth rate. “We have our problems and we have to look at that … We cannot get growth and cannot get unemployment sorted out if things are happening behind our backs which undermine us.” he said.

India & South Africa Trade & Investment Partners – Book launch