Johannesburg - French companies were invited on Monday to invest more than R30 billion in South Africa by National Empowerment Fund (NEF) chief executive Philisiwe Mthethwa.
“(We invite the companies)... to invest in strategic investments valued at more than R33bn, which collectively have the potential to generate in excess of 100,000 new decent jobs,” she said in a statement.
“Together with other developers... the NEF has built a portfolio of manufacturing and industrial capacity in strategic economic sectors, which will potentially add one percent to South Africa's GDP (gross domestic product), once commercialised.”
According to the statement, Mthethwa was speaking at a SA-France Business Forum in Sandton.
She said the projects companies should invest in were for mutual benefit and not aid.
“They offer potentially lucrative value and growth for international investors willing to become partners in a country that is uniquely positioned as the gateway into Africa.”
She said the 24 companies would drive beneficiation, increase South Africa's export-earning potential and reduce import dependency.
The projects were in tourism, mining, minerals beneficiation, agri-processing, renewable energy, business process outsourcing and infrastructural projects.
President Jacob Zuma hosted his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Monday.
Earlier, they briefed the media on trade and co-operation between the two countries.
Zuma said France was a reliable development partner for South Africa.
“Since our democracy in 1994, France has extensively supported our reconstruction and development efforts. We appreciate the ongoing development support,” he told reporters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Hollande said France had stood by the South Africans oppressed under apartheid and it still stood by the country “in its years of development”.
He said the countries' relationship was not just about trade, but also about French companies setting up in South Africa.
“It is about young South Africans being hired by these companies.”
Two agreements were signed by ministers from both countries.
One was a declaration of intent for co-operation within the context of a G20 action plan on agriculture and the other on an agricultural education project.
Zuma and Hollande were expected to address the forum later on Monday. - Sapa