Trade officials from Japan, who previously had felt sidelined under the Jacob Zuma administration, are in a more buoyant mood, believing that relations with SA have entered a new chapter. Giving reason for enthusiasm is a keynote address by President Cyril Ramaphosa that launched the Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum in Sandton earlier in May. Japan felt sidelined during the Zuma presidency when SA’s political, trading and investment focus turned to the Brics bloc of nations, especially China. In his presentation, Ramaphosa reiterated that SA had embarked on a $100bn investment drive over the next five years, and would be holding an international investment conference later in 2018. No doubt Japan, among the top 10 investors in SA, is also in Ramaphosa’s sights. "We will not be able to expand trade and investment relations between Japan and African countries unless our respective governments, state-owned entities and other public institutions are aligned with the work of th...

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