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SA open for Spanish business

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa is greatly encouraged by the number of Spanish companies investing in the country’s economy across a range of sectors.

Speaking at the SA-Spain Business Forum in Pretoria, following bilateral talks with his Spanish counterpart President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón at the Union Buildings, the President said he greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with business leaders from the two countries.

He told the Spanish delegates that South Africa is open for business.

“We want to see higher levels of foreign direct investment by Spanish companies into South Africa. We also want to see more South African companies investing in Spain,” President Ramaphosa said.

He the engagement between South and Spain was a valuable platform to improve the balance of trade between the two countries.

“South Africa and the Kingdom of Spain have a well-established bilateral economic relationship, which provides a firm platform for growth and expansion.

“South Africa’s focus is to increase the export of value-added goods and services to Spain. Our focus, in this regard, is on mining equipment and technologies, advanced manufacturing, alternative energy equipment, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and food processing equipment.

“Spain’s investment into South Africa is concentrated in the renewable energy, tourism, steel, automotive, water and agro-processing sectors. Companies such as Acciona and GRI have made significant investments in the renewable energy sector,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said the COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to both developed and developing economies.

“In response, South Africa adopted an Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan that prioritises spending in infrastructure, an employment stimulus to create and sustain jobs and measures to deepen local industrialisation.

“To support a rapid economic rebound, South Africa has prioritised interventions to drive industrial growth and the expansion of energy generation capacity. These initiatives are providing great opportunities for investors. We are expanding local production to make South African exports more competitive,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa said sectoral master plans have been developed for key industries like agriculture and agro-processing, renewable energy, automotive and steel.

He said in 2018, South Africa set an ambitious target of attracting R1.2 trillion or around $100 billion in new investments over a five-year period.

“Through four South Africa Investment conferences, the latest being in March this year, we have nearly reached our target. We hope to see a strong showing by Spanish companies at the 5th South Africa Investment Conference next year.

“We are implementing a range of interventions to rapidly expand our energy generation capacity. We are increasing the procurement of renewable energy, upscaling the use of gas and battery storage, and removing regulatory restrictions on self-generation.

“We are greatly encouraged by the overwhelming response from the private sector, particularly the mining sector, to generate their own electricity,” President Ramaphosa said.

Earlier on Thursday, President Ramaphosa hosted the Spanish President at the Union Buildings where they held discussions followed by the signing of agreements.

South Africa is currently the 12th highest destination for Spanish exports, and Spain is the 20th highest destination for South African exports.

Source: South African Government News Agency