Katsumi Hirano, executive vice president of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), says SA’s image of a "rainbow nation" has faded as the corruption and conflict that pervades governance in many other parts of Africa entrenches itself in SA. "SA is a special country — but gradually has become an ordinary country," says the former executive director of Jetro in Johannesburg, who is on his way to open Jetro’s newest office in Africa — in Maputo, Mozambique. This means SA will have to compete heavily for Japanese investment with countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand as well as Ethiopia, which "provides special treatment for investors". "The attractiveness of SA’s economy is the private sector’s knowledge, skill and experience in Africa," he says. Kenya, Nigeria and SA are ranked as Jetro’s top three investment destinations. Jetro, under Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry, promotes trade and investment. It is changing its focus on mining and manufacturing...

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