International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr. Naledi Pandor, is hosting her Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, today in a significant bilateral meeting that aims to strengthen the ties between South Africa and Japan. The meeting, focusing on various mutual interests, signifies the continuation of high-level engagements between the two nations, following a telephonic discussion held between the ministers in early June 2023.
South Africa and Japan have a history of robust economic relations, with Japan being one of the major investors in the South African economy. Over R90 billion has been invested by Japan in various sectors, significantly contributing to the growth and development of South Africa’s economy. The Asian country’s investments have not only bolstered economic growth but also generated numerous employment opportunities for local communities. Currently, Japan has a presence of 273 companies in South Africa, creating over 200,000 job opportunities for the local workforce.
The automotive industry has been a significant beneficiary of Japanese investments in South Africa. Notably, Toyota invested R4.28 billion, Nissan R3.2 billion, and Isuzu R1.2 billion in the past two years, demonstrating a strong commitment to the country’s automotive sector. The contributions of Sumitomo Rubber, Komatsu, Kansai Paint, NEC, Lixel, Nomura Investment, and Tokyo Marine have also positively impacted the industry through new investments.
Dr. Naledi Pandor will take advantage of the occasion to launch the “Mapungubwe Dialogues” at the conclusion of the visit of the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs. The dialogues are an essential platform for open discussions and dialogue, bringing together members of the Diplomatic Corps from the Continent based in Pretoria, as well as think tanks and African Union Organs based in South Africa. This initiative comes at a pivotal moment as it aligns with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Agenda 2063.
Ministers in the Presidency, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and Maropene Ramokgopa, are expected to participate in the Mapungubwe Dialogues, further underlining the significance of this event. The participation of such esteemed individuals reaffirms the commitment of both South Africa and Japan to fostering regional and international cooperation, seeking to address challenges, share knowledge, and collaborate on various issues of mutual concern.
The Mapungubwe Dialogues present a unique opportunity for South Africa to strengthen its ties with its diplomatic partners from across the African continent and deepen its engagement with various regional and international institutions. The open discussions and exchanges of ideas are expected to lay the groundwork for further collaborations in technology, trade, finance, and other vital sectors.
In conclusion, the meeting between International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr. Naledi Pandor, and her Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, highlights the significance of the ongoing relationship between South Africa and Japan. The bilateral discussions focusing on investments in technology and the automotive industry demonstrate the commitment of both nations to fostering economic growth and prosperity. Additionally, the launch of the Mapungubwe Dialogues represents a pivotal step towards strengthening regional and international cooperation, providing a platform for productive discussions and collaboration between South Africa and other African nations.