While regional and global summits do not directly create jobs, they give South Africa a platform to promote investment opportunities, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He said this when he responded to oral questions at the National Assembly on Thursday.
“While these international summits do not directly create jobs, they can contribute to an improved environment for investment, trade and cooperation. They provide a platform for the South African government and business to promote the investment opportunities in the country, to explore new markets and to forge strategic partnerships.”
Since May, the President has attended several regional and global summits to advance the country’s foreign policy and economic interests.
These include the recent G20 Summit in Japan; the African Union Extraordinary Summit in Niger; the SADC Summit in Tanzania; the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development in Japan and the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia.
For example leaders reaffirmed their support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the G20 Summit held in June.
“They agreed that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by WTO members,” said President Ramaphosa.
In addition South Africa also participated in the Japan-South Africa business roundtable with business people from each country on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
Among others things the roundtable generated leads for possible investment projects in sectors such as minerals processing, automotives, and battery production.
“Through this engagement, we were able to strengthen relationships with the Japanese business community. This is important as Japan is South Africa’s fifth largest trading partner and one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment into South Africa.”
He said the African Union (AU) Summit in Niger in July launched the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Summit directed that the outstanding work on tariff schedules, rules of origin and commitments on trade in services be submitted to their next Session in February 2020 for adoption.
“The decisions of the Summit are significant for the South African economy since the African Continental Free Trade Area promises great opportunities for trade with other countries on the continent, broadening our manufacturing based and boosting employment.”
The President said the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development – or TICAD – which was held in Japan in August, resulted in a commitment from Japan to contribute to economic transformation in Africa and improve the business environment through innovation and private sector engagement.
“The Government of Japan undertook to bolster diversification and industrialisation, support Japanese investment in Africa, and offer support to the development of regional agricultural capability.”
He said that the first Russia-Africa Summit, which was held in Sochi last week, focused on forging economic ties between Russia and African countries, developing joint projects, and collaborating in the humanitarian and social sectors. “In addition to the discussion between government leaders, there were also productive engagements between Russian and South African businesses, which discussed cooperation in areas such as mining, information and communications technology and oil extraction,” said the President.