German companies’ investment in South Africa is, in many instances, precisely focused on those sectors that the country had targeted in its National Industrial Policy Framework, released earlier this year, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said on Friday.
German companies are heavily investing in South Africa’s automotive sector, with companies such as BMW South Africa, DaimlerChrysler South Africa and Volkswagen South Africa creating thousands of jobs in the local economy, and contributing to the country’s drive to boost its manufacturing capacity and export capabilities.
Speaking at a German-South African business round table in Pretoria, Mphalwa said that the 500 German companies that have invested in South Africa were creating in the order of 70 000 jobs.
He said there were various possibilities for collaboration between the two countries, and that South Africa could benefit from knowledge exchange between major German companies and local firms, which was not only limted to the automotive sector.
“As the services sector becomes more and more important in the German economy and manufacturing less so, we believe that great potential exists for utilising the manufacturing expertise that has been developed by Germany, for partnerships in South Africa.”
South Africa is Germany’s fourth largest trading partner.
Total trade between Germany and South Africa increased by over 32% last year.
Exports were currently valued at R28,87-billion, and imports at R57,84-billion.
Enhancing economic relations
Meanwhile, German and South African business leaders signed a joint declaration on increased cooperation on issues, such as the industrialisation of the country, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and energy-related issues.
Business Unity South Africa, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Southern Africa Initiative of German Industry have called on the governments to make every effort to enhance the economic relations between the countries.
The organisations said that a special focus would be place on the extension and the improvement of the infrastructure in South Africa in the areas of transport, telecommunications, electricity production and the use of renewable energies.