Article by European Union Ambassador to South Africa Riina Kionka

The European Union and South Africa hold a privileged economic relationship that has grown over decades. The EU accounts for over 25% of SA’’s trade and 75% of its FDI. In these challenging times for the South African economy it is to the mutual benefit of both the EU and South Africa to work together even more closely as strategic partners.

Attending the Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue in Sandton last Tuesday, I had the privilege to draw on the views of the EU Business Community expressed by the EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Africa in their recent Investment Climate Paper.

The good news is that EU companies, which have already created more than 500,000 jobs, are committed to remain invested in South Africa. In fact, 60% of the firms surveyed plan to increase their workforce over the next three years.

To further deepen our win-win partnership, the Paper provides five concrete suggestions to improve South Africa investment the following areas of: investment protection; public procurement and local content requirements; providing necessary skills; Public Private Partnership, notably, in the field of energy; and more effective ways for South Africa to pursue its transformation agenda.

For the details of these proposals the paper of the EU Chamber of Commerce provides illuminating insight.

The European Union is the world’s second largest economy. European companies are global leaders in promoting environmentally and socially responsible entrepreneurship.

EU companies are here for the long run. They are a real asset for the South African economy and provide growth and job opportunities for all South Africans.

Her Excellency Riina Kionka is the new European Union Ambassador to South Africa.