Speech by H. E. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa at the Investment Seminar, Seoul, South Korea, 03 May 2007

Salutations

South Korean Vice-Minister Honourable Cho,
Honourable South African Cabinet Ministers,
His Excellency Ambassador, Mr. Matjila,
His Excellency Ambassador, Mr. Schoeman,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Introduction

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to address this high-powered gathering of leading business persons from both Republic of Korea and Republic of South Africa. I bring you fraternal greetings from the government and people of South Africa.

History of South Africa-South Korea Relationship

South Africa and South Korea have established a good relationship over the past years. This relationship extends to the social and economic realms. Still, both countries realize there is still a long way to go hence the reason we are all here today as a South African delegation. The figures highlighted by Dr Davis highlight that.

Politically, the relationship dates back to the South African participation in the Korean war (1950-53), when South Africa sent an Air Force squadron, the 'Flying Cheetahs,' as part of a United Nations contingent to the Korean peninsula. We established diplomatic relations on the 1st of December 1992 and these relations were followed by a number of high level visits from both countries. During Apartheid Korean people were in solidarity with South Africa and supported our struggle. My first visit to Korea to the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) also affirmed solidarity of Korean Women with oppressed South African Women. I have fond memories of that trip.

Now it is a time for us to deepen the economic co-operation for the benefit of both countries. South Africa is at a phase where it can offer viable investment opportunities and South Korea has the resources needed to exploit these opportunities.

South Africa's Role in NEPAD

Ladies and gentlemen, we can no longer talk of investment in South Africa without considering the integral nature of our relationship with other countries in Africa. The African continent has opened up new markets for our business community to expand and grow their exports. This has been achieved by, amongst others, concluding bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, supporting trade missions and creating scope for our businesses in world markets through the negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Our economic and political relations on the African continent have shown dramatic improvements and created many new business opportunities. Trading with and investing in other countries in Africa represents one of the most dynamic areas of growth for South African businesses.

South Africa is one of the largest economies in Africa and with a strong link between South Africa and the rest of the African continent, which must benefit all of us. We are very confident about the positive changes that have taken place in Africa where the number of conflicts have dramatically reduced, there is a broad commitment to democracy and good governance, and governments are increasingly finding ways to stimulate economic growth. Trade more than aid, but not without aid.

South Africa has been part of initiatives to stimulate regional economic development and we are already starting to see the positive outcomes of these initiatives with faster economic growth taking place on the African continent for the first time in many years. But we have a long way to go. We want to lessons from Korea's amazing intense growth especially in the last quarter of the 20 th century with the Gross Domestic Product that was higher than many sub Saharan countries put together. We have an interest in the Information and Communication Technology sector; Human Resource Development; Technology transfer; ownership; production; manufacturing and attracting Korea tourists to our beautiful country for an unforgettable experience.

ASGISA/JIPSA Initiatives

The key to turning around some but, not all the challenges we face in South Africa lies for the most part in programmes we have set in place through Asgi-SA and JIPSA. Some of these programmes are to eradicate poverty, enable sustainable economic growth and development. Key elements of Asgi-SA include reducing currency volatility, selecting projects to ensure spending efficiency by government, and removing obstacles to investment.


To this end Asgi-SA's priorities are to establish conditions for shared growth based on sound fiscal foundation. Ladies and gentlemen, in this regard, co-operation between the Republics of South Africa and South Korea is central to economic development. Furthermore, let me add that economic development will be anchored on maximum use of resources of both countries. For us in South Africa as producers of raw materials, our country needs more value addition of minerals in South Africa.

In South Africa we aspire to reduce inequalities and create entry into the labour market for millions of our youth soonest.

As regards the private sector, we believe investing in the economy of South Africa is a key contribution that business can make towards our vision, employment creation and poverty reduction. We are glad some of our companies are here present today to also see how you did it. This means investing in a way not only to assist in turning around the marginal share of investment flows that South Africa currently attracts, but that would also ensure that investment is broad-based and long- term impact in countries such as ours where so many still feel left out of positive economic trends. We need investors who can adopt a wholesale approach and implement Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).

This will contribute to the development of a market, an industrial base as well value-added manufacturing sector. We have a very robust R400 billion and infrastructure programme, 2010 demands all need capital goods. We have the textile agreement with China, which is meant to limit the importation of Chinese textile and clothing materials into South Africa to enable our own producers in this sector to thrive. We want to attract the textile manufacturers to invest in South Africa.

South Africa Gateway to Africa

We have a strong business delegation from South Africa looking for partnerships with South Korean business people. While government also supports, especially, those who can be participants in the building of infrastructure projects as contractors and 'on time' suppliers who can locate in South Africa in energy; telecommunications; transport; rolling out of ICTs in communities; Business Application and Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs).

Ladies and gentlemen, I urge all of you to seize these opportunities and make South Africa your preferred investment destination. The government of South Africa avails all its resources to assist you in setting up your businesses in South Africa.

Trade relationship between our two countries has been a typically North-South one with South Africa exporting the bulk of raw materials and semi-processed minerals and metals to South Korea while importing value added or manufactured products. Beneficiation is an avenue we are placing focus on in our strategies. This is one of the areas that we believe South Korea will be able to assist us; of course with high benefits in terms of high returns on investment. Opportunities in forestry, minerals and chemicals should be of interest. We seek also to partner in the most urgent projects without which we are doomed that's skills, skills and skills.

The request was made by our ex President Mandela on skills. We are thankful for the cooperation that has taken place to date through our departments of labour in which South Africa has cooperated with your Department of Labour, Indlela in South Africa. The training is so good most people leave us after that but at least that is not a tragedy as they stay in South Africa and we are keen to do more. We are keen to work with you on the Artisans, Engineers and ICT. We have more than thirty thousand (30 000) available vacancies in ICT. We want all our schools to be ICT driven. I want to thank Samsung for its offer and we would like more companies to do likewise!

Tourism

I am told that in the past year, over 17 million Koreans have traveled abroad on holiday; however, a very minute percentage visited South Africa. Although most of those who have visited South Africa have indicated their satisfaction and happiness to visit again, the numbers are still worryingly small. We wish to entice a greater number of Korean nationals to visit our shores. In the near future, the South China Airlines will be flying directly to Johannesburg via Seoul and we hope this will start addressing the problem of transportation between our country and yours.

As part of our JIPSA programme we have identified language and tourism as critical factors that continue to grow our economy fast. As a result, during this visit, we will be accrediting some of your travel operators here in Korea to bring visitors to our country. We will also be encouraging greater numbers of our people to learn Korean and to understand the Korean traveler to ease the pain of traveling in South Africa. We value your custom and we would like to invite to come to visit our beautiful land.

Conclusion

We are looking for partnerships of mutual shared growth as we move towards greater levels of economic development in our country.

My message to you today is that South Africa is ready for rapid development. We would be more than pleased if South Korea partners with us in this development.

I Thank You

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