The Director-General of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Lionel October says South Africa should be looking to have a balanced trade. He was speaking at the pre-Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) seminar which was held in Johannesburg.
TICAD was launched in 1993 to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners. It is co-sponsored and hosted every five years in Tokyo by the Government of Japan, the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA), the United Nation's Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSSA), UNDP and the World Bank.
Speaking at the workshop, October said that there is a need for South Africa to diversify economy.
“In all efforts, South Africa should be moving away from mainly exporting raw material and start working towards a diversified economy with diversified exports. An unbalanced economy is not sustainable,” said October.
According to October, South Africa has recently seen an increased interest from Japanese companies as well as Japanese banks in using the country as their platform for launching into Africa.
“Our collaboration with the international community, especially Japan, is designed to help us achieve inclusive growth, sustainable development and a prosperous South Africa. Japan has been a long standing investor in South Africa and a major investor in the African continent.In 2011, South Africa managed to attract investments worth $312 million from Toyota and Kansai Paint,’’ he added
October told the seminar that South Africa is one of the most sophisticated emerging markets, offering a unique combination of highly developed first world economic infrastructure, with a vibrant emerging market economy.
The Japan Ambassador to South Africa Mr Yutaka Yoshizawa, told the seminar that there were more than 110 Japanese companies operating in South Africa and the brands were well received in the country.
”These companies have created 150 000 jobs in the country and therefore Japan is looking to increase co-operations assistance in Africa,” he added.
South Africa will participate in the TICAD V conference which will be held in Japan from 1-3 June 2013. The Department of Trade and Industry will host investment seminars that will be conducted in Japan leading-up to the TICAD event. These seminars will create awareness of opportunities in South Africa and convey critical aspects of South Africa’s business climate.
The commitments made at TICAD IV in 2008 include the doubling of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa up to $3.4 billion by the end of 2012; and $4 billion to be made available in loans for the development of infrastructure and agriculture. The commitments also include the use of ODA to encourage Japanese private-sector investment in Africa, with the goal of doubling Japanese foreign direct investment; and establishment of a US$10 billion global financial mechanism to address the effects of climate change.