“Over the past 20 years the relationship between South Africa and Malaysia has grown rapidly in many fields and solidified into a multi-facetted relationship,” said South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma at the second session of the South Africa- Malaysia Business Forum held in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
He pointed out that Malaysia was one of the first countries to invest in South Africa in 1994, reflecting its strong belief in the new democratic South Africa and continues to be the largest investor in South Africa from South East Asia. South Africa in turn is also the largest investor in Malaysia from Africa.
Bilateral trade relations between the two countries have also grown tremendously.
“Malaysian companies are still active in our economy. The latest trade figures confirm the growing links between South African and Malaysian companies. Total trade between Malaysia and South Africa has grown from approximately 13.8 billion rand in 2008 to 19.7 billion rand in 2012,” said Zuma.
He stated that exports from South Africa to Malaysia increased significantly between 2008 and 2012, making Malaysia South Africa’s 8th largest import-export partner from the Asian continent.
South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, added that both countries were in support of strengthening bilateral trade and investment relations between the two and that they would also be re-establishing the South Africa Malaysia Business Council.
The council was previously launched by former president Nelson Mandela and former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir in Kuala Lumpur in 1997.
Zuma also stated that both he and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak would be intensifying cooperation between the two regions.
“It was agreed that the substantial reciprocal investments that each country has made, should be further encouraged and this in turn would lead to increased trade in goods and services. As Malaysia is a hub for Southeast Asia, South Africa is equally a hub or springboard into Southern Africa,” he concluded.