South Africa's economy is rapidly growing and it welcomes investments from Japanese firms, South African President Jacob Zuma said Tuesday in a speech in Tokyo.

"We need investment. We need Japanese companies to come and invest," Zuma said during a news conference held at the Japan National Press Club.

"There's space for Japanese companies to participate," he said.

Zuma came to Japan to participate in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which closed Monday.

In his speech, Zuma noted that an increasingly number of Japanese firms are investing in South Africa, in particular in the automotive sector, information and communication technology, renewable energy and mining industries.

Zuma also noted that in 2012 his government proposed a "massive infrastructure development initiative" that included rail, road, port, dam, irrigation, energy and other social infrastructure systems.

"We urge Japan to take advantage of the investment opportunity" to access the South African market as well as that of sub-Saharan Africa, he said.

South Africa accounts for 30 percent of the gross national product of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

Japan is the third-largest export destination for South Africa, following China and the United States.

Zuma was set to leave for home Wednesday.