French finance minister on working visit to SA
Sipho Mabena | 2017-01-31 16:38:01.0
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin. File photo
Image by: ERIC GAILLARD
French Minister of Economy and Finance Michel Sapin is headed to South Africa‚ with meetings scheduled with finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
The French embassy in Pretoria said Sapin will arrive on Thursday morning around 11am and depart on Friday afternoon.
Sapin is also scheduled to meet with SA’s minister of Small Business Development‚ Lindiwe Zulu‚ South African enterprises‚ French companies based in South Africa as well as the business community in the country.
During his trip‚ he will visit Schneider Electric‚ L’Oréal’s new Research and Development Centre and Airbus Helicopter.
France is one of SA’s major trade partners:
– There are 366 different French companies in South Africa‚ employing 37‚000 locals.
– 69% of these are based in Gauteng province. – 9% of France’s investment is in the “BRICS” countries (Brazil‚ Russia‚ India‚ China and South Africa)
– 1% of its total foreign investment is in South Africa (after UK‚ Holland‚ USA‚ Germany and China but before Italy and Spain).
– Amount from France: €1.4 billion (this does not include local loans etc.) Lali van Zuydam‚ SA’s French Press Attaché‚ said French investments in SA were diversified in the industrial sector in energy‚ transport‚ aeronautics‚ pharmaceuticals petrol and chemicals‚ electric equipment and mining. France also has vehicle manufacturers (Renault‚ PSA‚ Faurecia‚ Michelin)‚ and construction material manufacturers (Lafarge‚ Saint Gobain) operating in SA. South Africa in turn has 20 companies in France‚ employing 15‚000 French people.
– Steinhoff bought Conforama in 2011 and has 14‚000 employees. – The second-largest investor is Aspen (pharmaceuticals) with 1‚000 employees. – All the other investors have less than 100 employees.
– Most South African companies present in Europe have invested in the UK. The imminent “Brexit” is an opportunity to change this and showcase the numerous trade and investment opportunities France has to offer.
“France and South Africa have a strategic partnership dating back to 1994. President Jacob Zuma undertook a State Visit to France in July 2016‚ following a visit by President François Hollande to South Africa in October 2013‚” Van Zuydam said.