SA, Malaysia look to do more business

27 August 2013

While trade and investment between South Africa and Malaysia has grown considerably in recent years, there is still huge potential for growth, President Jacob Zuma told the South Africa-Malaysia Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Zuma, who is on an official visit to Malaysia, said that Malaysian companies were active in South Africa, and that the latest trade figures confirmed the growing links between the two economies.

Malaysia is the largest investor in South Africa from Southeast Asia, with focused investments in petrochemicals, telecommunications, real estate and hospitality. South Africa, for its part, is Africa’s largest investor in Malaysia, with investments in petro-chemicals, insurance, food and beverages industries.

Total trade between the two countries has grown steadily from approximately R13.8-billion in 2008 to R19.7-billion in 2012. Over this period, South Africa’s total exports increased from R5.2-billion to R8.8-billion, and imports from R8.5-billion to R10.9-billion.

“My delegation and I have brought the message that the South African economy offers a multitude of opportunities,” Zuma told the delegates at Monday’s forum. “South Africa is open for business and is waiting for more Malaysian companies to come and participate.”

Trade and Industry Minster Rob Davies, also addressing the forum, said South Africa was keen to revive and strengthen relations that dated back to the launch of the South Africa-Malaysia Business Council by former president Nelson Mandela and former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1997.

Davies was due to meet with his Malaysian trade and industry counterpart on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the establishment of a joint trade and investment commission between the two countries.