South Africa—Open for business

South Africa—Open for business

H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa giving a speech at JETRO South Africa Business Forum.

Japanese Government representatives along with delegates from around the world attended a presentation given by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa at JETRO in August this year. The Deputy President talked about the favorable investment environment in South Africa.

“Of late, we have also witnessed keen interest from Japanese banks in supporting clients who have invested in South Africa, and this is, in our view, a very encouraging sign that these banks are following their country’s companies to South Africa.”

In his speech, Mr. Ramaphosa emphasized that South Africa has seen an increase in Japanese investments on the African continent. There are a total of 118 Japanese companies that have invested in South Africa. Japanese direct investment has directly created 150,000 jobs in the South African market. Companies such as Toyota are increasingly becoming involved in supplier development programs, moving beyond their own businesses. This is contributing to the establishment of new suppliers and successful businesses. Mr. Ramaphosa also stressed that Japanese companies are actively involved in participating in infrastructure programs. The South African Government is allocating big resources for infrastructure development, giving rise to great investment opportunities. “Of late, we have also witnessed keen interest from Japanese banks in supporting clients who have invested in South Africa, and this is, in our view, a very encouraging sign that these banks are following their country’s companies to South Africa”, he added.

Mr. Ramaphosa expressed the appreciation of efforts made by JETRO and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in organizing business missions to South Africa to encourage more investment. JETRO is also helping South African businesses interested in investing in Japan, so that the two countries have a mutually beneficial type of investment.

Mr. Ramaphosa underlined the importance of economic planning. South African President Jacob Zuma has announced a National Development Plan to boost economic growth. The plan provides space for Japan and South Africa to partner on building human capital in various sectors with Japan’s assistance.

Regarding energy security, the Deputy President said “we are building new power stations, and one of them was switched on just yesterday [24 August 2015], generating an additional 800 megawatts. We are adopting new technologies in order to promote a green economy,” said the Deputy President.

South Africa is also looking at generating more growth through its manufacturing sector. The government’s intention is to deepen and broaden our manufacturing base as well as generating growth through innovation in the areas of science and technology. “Countries that have utilized science and technology have seen tremendous growth in their economies. Japan is a great example”, the Deputy President added.

Later in his speech, the Deputy President elaborated on South Africa’s mineral-based economy and the importance of processing its own commodities and minerals to sell end products.

“Yesterday [24 August 2015] I was a passenger in Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell-powered car, which is driven through a mechanism that uses hydrogen. Platinum is an important catalyst for hydrogen fuel cell technology. We have platinum, and we want to be able to make a contribution to your auto industry. However, we want to process the platinum to benefit both countries,” said the Deputy President.

When it comes to utilizing the oceans in terms of ship building, transportation and fishing, the Deputy President said the Japanese are pioneers: “We want to learn from them, and also encourage Japan to come and invest in our industries.”

Reflecting on Japan’s relationship with Africa, the Deputy President recognised the great importance of TICAD. Through the ABE Initiative, South Africans have been improving their professional skills and knowledge by participating in Master’s Degree Programs in Japan. Mr. Ramaphosa, urged Japan to consider a new program – the Artisan Training Program. Japan has millions of artisans and South Africa only a few. “This program would potentially boost the number of artisans and contribute to job creation.

The main thrust of the Deputy President’s message was that South Africa is open for business and there are a number of synergies between South Africa and Japan, such as in platinum beneficiation. The Deputy President’s message was greatly welcomed by Japanese business people who attended the seminar.

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