South Africa: Japan-South Africa Business Forum a Boost for SA Economy

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, says strengthening ties with Japan can present increased economic opportunities for South Africa.

The Minister was briefing media on Cabinet decisions on Thursday.

This after the Japanese government, together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), launched the Japan-South Africa Business Forum last week.

Gungubele said Cabinet welcomed the deepening of ties between the two countries.

“Japan is one of our most important trade partners and a leading investor in a number of South African sectors, ranging from automobiles to advanced mining machinery, and from agribusiness to financial services.

“Cabinet welcomed the outcomes of the recent Japan-South Africa Business Forum, which agreed to an ambitious work programme that includes collaboration on green industrialisation, electric vehicle technologies and green hydrogen.

“The forum also agreed to a virtual ‘road-show’ to highlight South African opportunities to more Japanese businesses, skills development in the local auto industry, work streams on manufacturing opportunities and the exchange of technical experiences,” Gungubele said.

Speaking at the launch of the forum last week, dtic Minister Ebrahim Patel called for renewed focus to enhance ties between the two countries.

“I am very encouraged by the positive spirit among Japanese investors and the commitment to strengthening ties and economic opportunities, including for small and medium businesses. This forum can invigorate the economic relationship and boost green industries.

“We have now agreed to nine workstreams of actions that both countries will work together to address, with the first reports due within three months,” Patel said.

According to the dtic, Japan is one of South Africa’s biggest trade partners along with China, the USA and Germany.

“SA exports to Japan increased from R61 billion in 2011 to R150 billion in 2021. Last year, SA imported R34 billion worth of goods… resulting in a R114 billion trade surplus in South Africa’s favour with Japan,” the department said.


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