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Mandelson on SA mission

PETER MANDELSON, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will begin his first overseas trade mission to South Africa tomorrow, intent on grabbing a share of the country's pounds 20bn privatisation programme for British firms.

On the eve of his visit, Mr Mandelson said there was a huge amount the City had to offer Nelson Mandela's government, based on its wealth of experience over the last 20 years of privatisation in the UK. Among the industries that South Africa is looking to privatise or open up to private capital are telecommunications, housing, water, energy and transport. "I will be saying very clearly that Britain stands ready to assist South Africa with its privatisation initiative," Mr Mandelson said ahead of his three-day visit. Britain is South Africa's biggest single trading partner with two-way trade worth pounds 5bn a year and exports in the first half of this year.