Johannesburg – Switzerland is the “key partner” for
investment into South Africa‚ says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Davies has just returned from an official visit to Switzerland
where he held bilateral talks with his Swiss counterpart‚ addressed the
Swissmem Industry Day‚ and met with the SwissCham Southern Africa and potential
Davies' message to the Swiss government and business was that
Africa is the next growth frontier. However‚ he stressed that in order to
realise this‚ the continent needs to prioritise industrialisation and regional
economic diversification‚ according to the department of trade and industry
During the bilateral meeting with his counterpart Federal
Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann‚ Davies said that the broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) policy is being refocused towards the
development of enterprises as well as skills development.
According to Davies‚ this would contribute towards the
national objective of reducing unemployment‚ especially among the youth‚ and
the creation of opportunities among black-owned enterprises for growth.
Schneider-Ammann welcomed the refocus of the B-BBEE policy‚
according to the DTI.
Davies said that Switzerland is the seventh-largest foreign
direct investor to SA.
“Since 2003‚ Switzerland has invested in about 30 projects
in SA‚ with direct investment volume estimated at R17bn over the period
“Switzerland investment projects in SA are distributed
across a broad range of industrial sectors; including financial services‚
metals‚ industrial machinery‚ equipments and tools‚ food and tobacco‚
pharmaceuticals‚ plastics‚ software and IT services.
"In addition‚ investments
created an estimated 13 204 jobs in SA‚” Davies said.
The president of SwissCham Southern Africa‚ Georg Umbricht‚
welcomed SA's $2bn contribution to the International Monetary Fund's firewall‚
according to the DTI.
"The world needs Africa for sure in the next 10 to 20 years.
We can’t do without Africa and the main motor of southern Africa is SA‚”
“We are glad that minister Davies has such a strategic view
of how to develop trade among the countries of SADC and also on the larger
"We are very confident that there will be more industries coming into SA
because of the programmes that are put in place‚” he said.
SA's exports to Switzerland showed an upward trend over the
five-year period ending in 2011‚ with the exception of 2010.
Before visiting Switzerland‚ Davies visited the US where he
signed a new trade and investment framework agreement aimed at deepening
the bilateral economic relationship. The new pact updated the agreement signed in