The Johannesburg chief representative of the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Yoshiro Yokoi, has commended South Africa for being a sound investment destination, despite the legacy left by apartheid.
Yokoi, who said the laws of the apartheid era were to blame for the country’s unemployment rate, was speaking during the first leg of the pre-TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) South African Investment Seminars in Nagoya, Japan, on Tuesday.
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti), in partnership with the Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi United Financial of Japan (UFJ), is hosting investment seminars in Japan.
According to Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, the seminars — which began on Tuesday and will conclude on Thursday — will give South African businesses a chance to have bilateral interactions with their Japanese counterparts.
“If everyone had access to education back then, we would not have this high unemployment rate. 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,” said Yokoi.
He said as the only sub-Saharan country in the BRICS group, South Africa was a sound investment destination for Japanese companies.
Additionally, the Free Trade Agreement that SA has with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries could benefit Japanese companies that are interested in doing business in the region, because it provide 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,” Yokoi said.
Mutually beneficial partnership
Agro processing, consumer goods, boat building, automotives and components, green economy industries and advanced manufacturing, among others, were the areas that Japan has enormous strength in and can invest in, the dti’s Director of Investment Promotion, Charles Manuel, said.
Manuel indicated that the challenges experienced by SA’s economy were not unique, and that the country was building an inclusive economy, centred on the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), which is structured around the country’s manufacturing sector to create jobs.
Earlier this month, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that the country’s unemployment rate rose to 25.2% in the first quarter of 2013, following a decline in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Today, another investment seminar will be held in Osaka, while another will be held in Tokyo on Thursday.
The seminars are a result of Davies’s visit to Japan last year to enhance and deepen trade and investment relations with Japanese business, government and financial institutions.
Following the minister’s visit to Japan, the dti signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) earlier this year.
The aim of the MOU is to increase foreign direct investment from Japan into South Africa.
Meanwhile, South Africa will also participate in the African Fair 2013 that is scheduled to take place during the TICAD V Summit. TICAD V will take place in Yokohama, Japan, from 1 – 3 June 2013
The fair is the biggest business event related to Africa in Japan and aims to promote African exports to Japan by exhibiting African products and encouraging bilateral business interactions between Africa and Japan.
South African Government News Agency