VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa’s Trade and Industry minister, Rob Davies, has described Switzerland as “the key partner” for investments in South Africa.
The minister made the statement while speaking at a bilateral meeting with Switzerland’s Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Amm toann, on an official visit to Switzerland.
While addressing the Swiss government, he described Africa as the next growth frontier with seven out of the world’s ten fastest growing economies on the continent.
But to achieve this, he pointed out that Africa needs to make industrialization a top priority as well as regional economic diversification.
At a meeting with Switzerland’s Federal Councillor Johann Schneider Ammann, the trade and industry minister presented South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy, which he said is being refocused towards achieving the goal of enterprises and skills development in order to realize the national objective of lowering youths’ unemployment rate and opening new growth frontiers for better opportunities for black-owned enterprises.
In response, Swiss Federal Councillor described the strong amicable relationship between both countries (South Africa and Switzerland). According to him, within the past 9 years, Switzerland has invested in about 30 projects in South Africa with direct investment volume estimated at $760 million.
“Switzerland investment projects in South Africa are distributed across a broad range of industrial sectors; including financial services‚ metals‚ industrial machinery‚ equipment and tools‚ food and tobacco‚ pharmaceuticals‚ plastics‚ software and IT services,” he added.
He also applauded South Africa’s department of trade and industry and its B-BBEE policy which he said, is a strategic view of how to develop trade among the countries of South Africa Development Commission on a larger scale.
While receiving the minister, the president of SwissCham Southern Africa‚ GeorgUmbricht‚ praised South Africa’s contribution ($2 billion) to the International Monetary Fund’s firewall.
“The world needs Africa for sure in the next 10 to 20 years. We can’t do without Africa and the main motor of southern Africa is South Africa‚” Umbricht said.
Since 2006, South Africa’s exports to Switzerland have recorded steady increase over a five-year period excluding 2010 during which there was a reduction in exports.
While in Switzerland, the minister held several bilateral talks including a meeting with SwissCham Southern Africa and potential investors; he also addressed Swissmem Industry Day.
Prior to his Switzerland visit, he was in the United States where he signed a new trade and investment framework agreement aimed at deepening the bilateral economic relationship.