29 May 2013
South Africa is a sound investment destination, despite the legacy left by apartheid, says the Johannesburg chief representative of the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Yoshiro Yokoi.
Yoko was speaking in Nagoya, Japan on Tuesday during the first of three seminars being held ahead of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which takes place in Yokohama from 1 to 3 June.
The seminars are being hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi United Financial of Japan.
“If everyone had access to education back then, [South Africa] would not have this high unemployment rate,” Yokoi said. “Japan should be part of rebuilding the South African economy, as South Africa has in the past years, during its democracy, made a mark and is now the gateway to Africa.”
Yokoi said the Free Trade Agreement that South Africa has with Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries could benefit Japanese companies, because it provided access to more than 200-million consumers.
“The country’s warm reception of foreign investors, its policies and incentives makes it easy for foreign companies to access the opportunities in the country.”
According to the DTI’s director of investment promotion, Charles Manuel, Japan has great strength and investor potential in areas such as agro-processing, consumer goods, boat building, automotives and components, green industries and advanced manufacturing.
Another investment seminar was due to be held in Osaka on Wednesday, followed by a third seminar in Tokyo on Thursday.
The seminars follow Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’ visit to Japan last year, and a memorandum of understanding signed by the DTI and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group earlier this year.
South Africa will also participate in the African Fair 2013, the biggest business event related to Africa in Japan, that will take place during the upcoming TICAD conference.