Big boom in Switzerland’s SA investments

Swiss investments made in South Africa between 2009 and 2012 more than trebled, compared to those made between 2003 and 2008., the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, told Swiss businessmen and ministers last week.

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Addressing the South Africa-Switzerland Business Forum held at the Waterfront today, Rob Davie, the Minister of Trade and Industry said while 12 Swiss investments valued at R3.8 billion and had created 3 000 jobs were made in South Africa between 2003 and 2008, this had picked up that between 2009 and 2012, 20 Swiss investments in South Africa were made, valued at R13.9 billion and had created 7 000 jobs.

Davies attributed the overall decline in Swiss-SA trade – which fell from R21 billion in 2011 to R14 billion last year – to a fall in platinum trade.

Praising Switzerland as “one of the most technologically advanced and sophisticated” countries in the world, Davies said with Europe stuck in low growth, Africa offered various opportunities for Swiss business as at present, the continent was the second fastest growing region in the world after Asia.

He pointed to a recent survey by the Financial Times that revealed that on the African continent, South Africa was the most favoured destination for foreign investors when it came to destination of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI), business friendliness and best economic potential.

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“Switzerland is a country that we regard as strategic, very important with very important skills and abilities,” said Davies.

Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann, who heads the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, said Switzerland also regarded South Africa as a key strategic partner and pointed out that the country was the most important trading partner on the continent.

Added to this, Switzerland is the fifth largest foreign investor in South Africa, home to more than 100 Swiss companies employing over 35 000 people.