Since the advent of South Africa’s democracy 25 years ago, Japan and South Africa have enjoyed close and constructive diplomatic and economic ties.

These are most visible in the solid footprint of the 160 Japanese companies doing business in South Africa. The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) offers a unique opportunity for the two countries to further enhance their relations by strengthening and growing new partnerships.

In 2018 the inaugural South African Investment Conference profiled the country as a competitive investment destination. Major local and international corporates pledged close to $20 billion toward investment in South Africa.

South Africa’s administration under President Cyril Ramaphosa has made the improvement of the country’s investment attractiveness a key priority. In his most recent State of the Nation address he noted, “We are urgently working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business by consolidating and streamlining regulatory processes, automating permits and other applications and reducing the cost of compliance.”

Addressing the National Assembly in July, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel emphasized the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as the single biggest initiative to expand markets for South Africa’s products and facilitate entry into those markets.

He said AfCFTA agreements will “lay the basis for increased intra-African trade and can cement the continent’s position as the next growth frontier.”

As the theme of this year’s conference aptly puts it, TICAD 7 will help the continent solidify this status by advancing Africa’s development through people, technology and innovation. With a shared passion for the future, TICAD 7 will help position South Africa and Africa at the forefront of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

By promoting its investment proposition, location, infrastructure and logistics, South Africa has positioned itself as a destination of choice. As the most industrialized country on the African continent, South Africa continues to make massive investments in infrastructure development, with many international companies utilizing the country as a strategic base for their operations on the African continent. South Africa looks forward to continuing on this positive path together with its Japanese partners.