The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan’s largest bank, Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi, to promote industrial and economic cooperation between South Africa and Japan.
The agreement also aims to increase South African-Japanese cooperation in various areas including the platinum sector and transport infrastructure.
The MoU comes as a result of a recent visit to Japan by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, where it was agreed that the two countries would look at ways of increasing their investment in each other.
The agreement will be supported by a plan of action and a schedule of events, which will include investment seminars in both countries, skills transfer activities and collaboration on projects in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
Director-general of dti Lionel October said the agreement would improve the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He said there had been an increase in Japanese investment in South Africa, citing Toyota as one of the companies that had invested and grown its business in the country.
“Japan is one of the leading countries when it comes to information communication technology and manufacturing. It’s quite fitting for us as government to enter into an agreement that will benefit and help industrialise both South Africa and the rest of the African continent,” October added.
Muneo Kurauchi, a senior managing executive officer at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, said South Africa was a promising country to do business with.
He was optimistic that the agreement would be beneficial to both countries.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi has a representative office in South Africa and will shortly open a fully-fledged branch that will support the needs of their clients locally.
“Africa’s economy is growing and more countries are investing in the continent to set their footprint. The investment is likely to increase and more Japanese companies need to be educated on doing business in Africa,” he added.
The action plan will start with the distribution of information about opportunities in South Africa to Japanese companies. This will be followed by investment targeting strategic sectors.