SA, Japan sign investment pact

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pretoria - The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two parties collaborate in increasing Japanese investment into South Africa and strengthening relations between the two.

The MoU emanates from a visit to Japan by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies last year, where both parties agreed to collaborate in the area of increasing Japanese investment into South Africa.

Speaking to SAnews, dti Director General Lionel October, who witnessed the signing of the MoU on Tuesday, said that South Africa had seen an increase in Japanese investment into the country.

He cited Toyota as an example of one of the companies that have invested and grown its business in the country.

“We now want to expand, using South Africa as the base into the African continent. We want to cooperate in terms of exports into the continent as a joint venture between South Africa and Japanese companies,” said October.

The MoU also seeks cooperation in the area of platinum beneficiation.

“We are starting two Special Economic Zones (SEZ), one in North West and one in Limpopo, to beneficiate platinum into fuel cells, platinum coins and jewellery etc. The Japanese are the world leaders in platinum beneficiation, so we are hoping to cooperate on that,” said October.

Feasibility studies on the two SEZs will be embarked on in the next few weeks.

The agreement also looks at technical assistance as well as financial support with regards to rail and infrastructure projects.

This comes as President Jacob Zuma takes the lead in championing the African Union’s North-South Corridor Project, which is a road and rail link from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to Durban. 

“There are about 350 projects in there,” said October.

The agreement, said October, was key to taking the relationship between South Africa and Japan to a higher level.

There was no time limit on the agreement, but it would be assessed on an annual basis.

Muneo Kurauchi, the senior managing executive director of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, said it was “a pleasure to sign the agreement”.

“Africa is a promising area for Japanese companies,” he said.

The agreement was signed by dti Deputy Director General Pumla Ncapayi and Kurauchi.

President Zuma is set to embark on a state visit to Japan in June, where he will be accompanied by Minister Davies. -