Despite the economic downturn, South Africa remains a country with great opportunities and an attractive destination for investors seeking sustained returns, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Deputy President on Tuesday met a delegation from the Federation of Economic Organisations of Japan (Keidanren.) He said the country has a solid record of prudent fiscal management and sound macroeconomic policies with a vibrant and resilient democracy.
“We are an attractive investment destination. We are pursuing measures to fundamentally transform our economy, ensuring that it is more productive, more inclusive and more sustainable.
“South Africa also has a diversified economic base with developed industries in areas like resources, manufacturing, retail and services; advanced financial and communications infrastructure and extensive road, rail and port facilities,” said Ramaphosa.
The country also has a young workforce which is poised to power a new wave of production and growth.
The delegates from Keidanren - Japan’s most influential business federation representing the top Japanese multinational companies with the highest volumes of global business -- are on a four-day visit to the country.
Ramaphosa used the meeting to call on the Japanese to explore how investment and trade between the two sides can contribute to key objectives such as job creation, industrial development, human resource development and innovation as part of implementing the National Development Plan.
Japan could assist emerging black industrialists in accessing markets, skills and technologies, he said.
“We look to Japan to assist our country in the development of a thriving hydrogen economy. We look to Japan to invest in our ocean economy and aquaculture and provide training in boat building and ports management."
“We look to Japanese companies to work with our businesses and people to invest in water and sanitation projects, agriculture and agro-processing. Japan’s companies are well poised to work with us in the beneficiation of our mineral wealth.”
Government, said Ramaphosa, is already in the process of making it easier to do business in the country.
“We are fast-tracking the implementation of the Invest SA initiative, which is a one-stop investment shop to assist investors in meeting all the necessary legislative and regulatory requirements.”
This will reduce the cost and complexity of investing in South Africa and will also ensure government departments and agencies are more efficient and responsive.
South Africa’s growth plan also includes an injection of new entrepreneurial support for previously disadvantaged groups.
“We are supporting the emergence of a new generation of black industrialists. We are using this programme for skills development and improving standards, quality and productivity. We are also providing access to finance and assisting with entry into new markets,” he said.
Japan is currently South Africa’s third largest trading partner.
There are around 130 Japanese companies in South Africa, employing over 150,000 people.