JOHANNESBURG - The recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will require world class infrastructure and the continent is undertaking large, cross-border projects which will create new opportunities for investors as they are realised, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa told a South Africa-Japan business forum in Japan, on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), that these projects included liquid natural gas fields in Mozambique, new ports and rail lines across southern Africa and pan-African iron and steel initiatives, with the African Development Bank estimating the continent needed between $130 billion and $170 billion a year to meet its infrastructure needs.
"This TICAD summit is an excellent moment to reflect on how we can deepen our ties and move towards a future of shared prosperity for our countries," Ramaphosa added, also calling the summit a clear indication of the strength of the relationship between Japan and Africa.
"From a South African perspective, Japan is one of our most important partners. Japan is a leading investor in a number of South African sectors, ranging from automobiles to advanced mining machinery, and from agribusiness to financial services."
He said Africa was on the cusp of a new era, with the AfCFTA, now in the implementation phase, drawing the continent closer to creating a free trade area "stretching from Cape to Cairo".