Ramaphosa calls for diversification of African exports to Japan

President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The African continent boasts huge potential for economic growth - making it a lucrative option for keen investors,” President Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates at the Japan-Africa Public-Private Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday evening (May 3).

In 2017 Africa’s exports to Asia as a whole were worth around $64 billion, with Japan accounting for around $8.3bn. “However, the current basket of exports is very much commodity-based, exposing African countries to price fluctuations and denying them the opportunity to extract additional value from these commodities,” said President Ramaphosa. 

The President emphasised that diversification and increased production of intermediate, final consumer, and industrial products were the next step for African economies. “I encourage African countries to take hold of this opportunity to learn from Japan in order to more effectively integrate their economies in the global market.”

Acknowledging Japan as one of the top 10 investors in South Africa, with 280 companies – such as Toyota, Isuzu and KGK operating in SA - the President noted that the country’s financial and technology sectors were areas where Japanese investment could encourage significant growth and see increased returns.

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