Pretoria — Africa must address the challenges of inadequate infrastructure, small and fragmented markets, and inadequate diversification of industrial output if it is to realise meaningful growth and development, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Addressing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mainichi Forum in Tokyo on Wednesday, Davies said the answer lay in promoting a developmental regional integration agenda and industrialisation.
Davies said Africa was one of the promising growing economies in the world, and said those serious about investment could not afford to miss out on investing in the continent.
"In fact, after Asia, the African continent is increasingly widely recognised as the next growth frontier and dynamic business people can no longer afford not be involved in it. Six of the ten fastest growing economies today are located in the African continent," Davies said.
Davies said the average growth of the African continent was estimated to be 5.8 percent and that was in contrast with the European Union, which has gone into recession and the United States, which is constrained by the low level of economic growth.
Davies said African growth was based, amongst others, on sound financial institutions and the willingness to engage politically.
"There has been significant and sustained growth across the continent driven in part by the boom in mineral commodities but also by growth in retail, agriculture, transport and telecommunication.
"We do not have governments in Africa that are struggling with huge debt crises because of the recession, we have resolved a number of political crises and we have better economic governance on the African continent."
The SADC Mainichi Forum is one of the follow-up mechanisms of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, which was launched in 1993.
TICAD has led to the implementation of projects aimed at increasing African human resource capacity, infrastructure development and investment.
The SADC Mainichi forum is a partnership between the 12 SADC member countries and the Mainichi Newspapers Company. It is intended to enhance and expose the Japanese private sector to the trade and investment opportunities that exist within SADC member countries, and to further promote existing cooperation between the Japanese private sector through open dialogue based on mutual trust and respect.
Davies is in Japan on an official visit to promote trade and investment ties between South Africa and Japan.
Since his arrival in Japan, he has met with various investors, including Isuzu and Toyota.
Today he is expected to meet with Nissan, Japan Bank for International Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, and the Japan External Trade Organisation.