Africa is striving to achieve reasonable and inclusive social and economic development to fight poverty, unemployment and under-development, says President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at the Japan-Africa Economic Forum in Sandton, Johannesburg.
This annual event provides opportunities for Japanese and African business leaders to highlight their work in Africa, and other opportunities to enhance business partnership.
President Ramaphosa wishes that the forum will enable new ground in further advancing the relationship between the countries in Africa and Japan.
“This forum is about cooperation and collaboration, not only different countries, but also between the public and private sectors in those countries.”
He also stated that social and economic challenges on the African continent needs the government and corporate sectors to work together to address them.
“Similarly, we will not be able to expand trade and investment relations between Japan and African countries unless our respective governments, state owned entities and other public institutions are aligned with the work of the private sector.”
Ramaphosa declares that for Africa to grow and its people to prosper, economies need to be more effectively integrated into global economy.
“They need to attract capital, technology, expertise and best practice from advanced economies and use that to take full advantage of its plentiful natural resources.” He said.
Trade ties between Africa and Asia have grown significantly in recent years. In 2007, Africa’s exports to Asia were worth around $64 billion and Japan is accounted for around $8.3.
“However, the current basket of exports is very much commodity-based, exposing African countries to price fluctuations and denying them the opportunity to extract additional value from commodities.
“African economies therefore need to diversify and shift towards greater production of intermediate and final consumer and industrial products.” Ramaphosa said.
He also said African countries need to ensure that their manufacturing capabilities feed into regional and global value chains.
“As it stands, Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world and has the largest number of developing countries.”
Ramaphosa stated that in the past decade Africa has grown at a rate of 2 to 3 % points faster than global GDP.
African countries now require some fundamental changes of approaches to job creation and skill development to a renewed focus on the continent’s economic capability.