4 June 2013
The commitment made by many Japanese companies through their investments in South Africa was proof of the good relations between the two countries, President Jacob Zuma told the South Africa-Japanese Business Forum in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Zuma, who is on an official visit to the Asian country, said there were 110 Japanese companies currently doing business in South Africa, in the process generating more than 150 000 jobs.
Japanese companies had a tradition of taking a long term view and placing emphasis on contributing to society.
“What is more, manufacturing companies such as Toyota contribute significantly to raising the capacity of local industries, through supplier development and skills development programmes,” Zuma added.
Japan is South Africa’s third-largest export destination and fifth-largest source of imports. Japanese direct investment in South Africa has been steadily increasing in recent years, amounting to nearly R20-billion in 2010.
In addition, since 2008, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation has provided low-interest loans and guarantees to South African state companies Eskom and Transnet.
Zuma said Japanese companies were also actively participating in South Africa’s infrastructure programmes, particularly in the rail sector.
“Of late, we have also witnessed keen interest from Japanese banks to support their clients on the ground in South Africa. This is a very encouraging sign.”
Zuma used the opportunity to invite Japanese companies to continue investing in South Africa, saying the country was open for business. He encouraged investors to take advantage of South Africa as a manufacturing platform to increase their market share on the growing African continent.
“We also offer opportunities in infrastructure development. This is a key vehicle for improving the quality of life and of providing a more focused access to basic services, competitiveness and jobs in South Africa.
“Our infrastructure drive is about providing housing, sanitation, public transport and running water in the urban areas for millions of South Africans who stay in urban areas. It is about connecting rural communities to economic opportunities through building dams and irrigation systems, connecting farms and villages to the energy grid and building schools and clinics.”