SA open for increased German investment

Thursday, February 6, 2020

South Africa is keen to attract higher levels of investment from Germany and to increase bilateral trade, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The President made the remarks while addressing delegates during a South Africa – Germany Business Roundtable in Tshwane, on Thursday. The engagement is part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Official Visit to South Africa. 

A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report has noted that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to South Africa have increased substantially over the last two years. 

“This confidence is aptly demonstrated across sectors and companies, including by German companies and their subsidiaries with a longstanding presence in South Africa,” said the President. 

South African businesses, the President said, are committed to working with their German counterparts to ensure a mutually productive and profitable experience for companies that invest in and trade with South Africa. 

Germany’s investment has a firm base in South Africa, with 600 German companies in the country, employing more than 100 000 people. 

“This should be used to open up more opportunities in other emerging sectors with high growth potential, not only in our market but in the broader region and the continent as a whole,” said President Ramaphosa. 

He expressed confidence that today’s deliberations would result in concrete and tangible outcomes.

The President used the platform to urge German businesses operating in South Africa to partner with the country’s technical and vocational colleges to develop the skills needed to make businesses thrive.

“As I discussed with Chancellor Merkel earlier today, the acquisition of critical skills is among our foremost priorities, as we prepare our workforces to adapt to the changing world of work,” said President Ramaphosa.

The knowledge and skills transfer that will come with greater German investment in South Africa, he said, will play a key role in propelling the country’s economy to greater heights.

Germany is South Africa’s largest trading partner in Europe. At the second South Africa Investment Conference in 2019, German companies jointly made investment commitments of nearly R11 billion – or 740 million Euros – into the country’s economy. The investments are mainly in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Said President Ramaphosa: “From our discussions earlier today, it is clear that there is solid political will from the leadership of both our countries to ensure that we deepen economic ties. As South Africa, we are on a drive to position our country as an investment destination of choice.”

He said the South African government wants to see investment commitments translating into concrete projects that will have a long-lasting impact, and will transform the lives of South Africans.

“Our deliberations today should contribute to greater trade and more investment opportunities. They should contribute to the full implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community,” said President Ramaphosa. 

The Economic Partnership Agreement ensures that South Africa and German firms benefit from enhanced market access, which in turn enables producers and suppliers to tap into regional value chains. 

President Ramaphosa said he would be keen to see how German and South African companies can collaborate in the field of clean and renewable energy.

“We are eager to explore the ways in which emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and many others can be harnessed in pursuit of industrialisation and growth. 

“The knowledge and skills transfer that will come with greater German investment in South Africa will play a key role in propelling our economy to greater heights.”

Benefits for Africa

Through public-private partnerships, President Ramaphosa said, governments can take advantage of the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area and develop cross-border investment projects that will, among others, facilitate infrastructure development, technology transfer and boost intra-Africa trade. 

The President reiterated his commitment to a path of economic reform, saying the country is taking clear and decisive measures to ensure policy certainty, and reducing the cost of doing business.

“We are committed to regulatory efficiency, legislative reform, fiscal consolidation and pursuing prudent macroeconomic policies. Through these reforms, we will assure our position as an investment-friendly destination,” he said. 

To that end, South Africa is working with the World Bank and key stakeholders to improve the business environment and the ease of doing business in the country. 

Securing energy supply 

Regarding energy supply, the President said the country is focused on measures of ensuring a stable supply of electricity, as well as an accelerated introduction of new generating capacity by independent producers.

“We are working with the leadership and management of our power utility, Eskom, to stabilise its finances, improve its operational performance and achieve a sustainable business model.

“As we work to address the immediate challenge of power shortages, we are taking steps that will fundamentally transform our energy landscape into the future,” he said. –