International relations / Africa news
Government representatives and business leaders from Africa and Japan have committed to strengthening mutually beneficial trade relations.
Africa needs to diversify and shift towards the greater production of industrial products, as the next step for its countries’ economies.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made this statement during a Japan-Africa Public-Private Forum, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg recently.
He called on African countries to take hold of the opportunity to learn from Japan so that their economies can be more effectively integrated into the global economy.
“In pursuing its economic development Africa must learn from Japan’s Kaizen philosophy, with its emphasis on productivity improvement, efficiency, support for small medium and micro enterprises and skills development,” said President Ramaphosa.
He emphasised the transfer of skills need to create jobs by tapping into the young unemployed population and growing the manufacturing sector as a fertile ground for growth.
“As a country we have realised that we will not be able to grow our own economy and reduce unemployment and inequality without a massive increase in both domestic and foreign direct investment,” said the President.
Japan is among the top-10 investors in South Africa with 280 companies such as Toyota, Isuzu and NGK operating in the country.
“In 2017 Africa’s exports to Asia as a whole were worth around $64 billion said President Ramaphosa.
He told delegates that the financial and technology sectors are also areas for growth.
“The increase in the digitisation and use of cutting-edge technology and innovation are critical factors for Africa to ensure that it takes advantage of the fourth industrial revolution.”
The President added that there was great potential in financial services and explained that African economies need capital and Africa’s people need banking.
“We therefore invite Japanese banks to expand their presence in the African continent which among other things would greatly facilitate trade and investment between Japan and Africa,” he said.