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Policy Proposals  Middle East and Affrica Keidanren Economic Mission to Southern Africa

April 18, 2016

Keidanren has been holding the Japan-South Africa Business Forum with Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) since 2001. Meetings of the Forum are convened in Japan and the Republic of South Africa in alternating manner once every 2 years. During this visit, the 8th Forum was held, and to make the best use of this opportunity, the group made courtesy calls on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and other key government figures. Furthermore, on the invitation of H. E. Mr. Masahiro Onishi, the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Botswana, the Mission visited Botswana to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In Botswana, the Mission met and consulted with key officials of the Government of Botswana and members of the business community, as well as the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

1. Itinerary

  • February 14 (Sun.)—17 (Wed.), 2016: Cape Town, South Africa
  • February 17 (Wed.)—18 (Thurs.), 2016: Gaborone, Botswana

2. Mission Membership

Leader: Kunio Noji
Chair of the Committee on Sub-Saharan Africa, Keidanren
Chairman of the Board, Komatsu Ltd.
Joint Leader: Yutaka Kase
Chair of the Committee on Sub-Saharan Africa, Keidanren
Chairman of the Board, Sojitz Corporation
Mission Members:
South Africa, 21 members; Botswana, 13 members

3. Outline of South Africa Visit

  1. (1) The Mission held the 8th Japan-South Africa Business Forum with BLSA. It also met with the Black Business Council and exchanged views on the economic situation in Japan and South Africa and on possibilities for future economic cooperation. Both organizations expressed the desire to strengthen their ties with Keidanren.

  2. (2) The Mission made courtesy calls on following government leaders:

    • H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa   Deputy President
    • H.E. Ms. Naledi Pandor   Minister of Science and Technology
    • H.E. Ms. Lynne Brown   Minister of Public Enterprises
    • H.E. Mr. Rob Davies   Minister of Trade and Industry
    • H.E. Mr. Pravin Gordhan   Minister of Finance
    • H.E. Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson   Minister of Energy
    • H.E. Mr. Mosebenzi Zwane   Minister of Mineral Resources
    • H.E. Mr. Senzeni Zokwana   Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
    • H.E. Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane   Minister of Water and Sanitation
    • Mr. Lesetja Kganyago   Governor of Reserve Bank South Africa
    • Ms. Helen Zille   Premier of the Western Cape

    The Mission conveyed messages that Japanese companies were prepared to contribute to the resolution of various urgent issues in South Africa, such as electric power systems including power generation, transmission and distribution networks; development of water resources; and the development of logistics and communication infrastructure. The Mission also urged the adoption of policies to attract more investment; implementation of appropriate economic policies to sustained economic growth in South Africa; promotion of measures for ensuring public safety; and the resolution of labor issues.

  3. (3) Deputy President Ramaphosa expressed the following thoughts: "South Africa is deeply grateful that Japanese companies have built close ties with South Africa during our difficult years and have made important contributions to economic development. South Africa will work toward receiving more Japanese investment in South Africa for the development of electric power and water supply infrastructures; further fostering human resources development, particularly among younger generations; and expanding cooperation in the area of research and development."

4. Outline of Botswana Visit

  1. (1) The Mission held discussions with Business Botswana, a business association of Botswana, and made courtesy calls on Acting Trade and Industry Minister Sadique Kebonang, and Health Minister Dorcas Makgato. Both sides agreed to further strengthen relations between Japan and Botswana by promoting effective use of Botswana's wealth of mineral resources including diamonds, nickel, and coal.

  2. (2) The Mission also visited the Southern African Development Community (SADC) headquarters, located in Botswana. In the meeting with SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the Mission exchanged views on possibilities for economic cooperation between Japan and SADC, which is working to promote economic partnership among the countries of Southern Africa. Executive Secretary Tax expressed: "SADC is working not only to eliminate tariffs but also to remove various other obstacles to free trade. SADC has completed an economic partnership agreement with the European Union. We appreciate that Japan has an abiding interest in the member countries of SADC and look forward to the expansion of trade and investment with Japan, and the promotion of infrastructure development centered on the energy sector."

5. Future Initiatives

  1. (1) SADC countries, including South Africa and Botswana, have traditionally had deep ties with Japan, and a large number of Japanese companies are currently operating in these countries. Infrastructure development and improving investment environment will open up possibilities for cooperation in a wide range of fields.

  2. (2) In August 2016, TICAD VI will be held in Africa for the first time. For Japanese businesses, this will be an opportunity to strengthen cooperative relations with the countries of Southern Africa.

Regional Affairs