In his address during the 12th Session of the DRC-SA Binational Commission, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized the need for increased investment and industrialization to drive economic growth in Africa. The event, held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), brought together business leaders and government officials from both countries to explore opportunities for collaboration.
President Ramaphosa commended President Félix Tshisekedi for the warm welcome and highlighted the importance of the DRC as a key player in the future of Africa. The country’s rich mineral resources are seen as crucial in propelling the new green industrial revolution. President Ramaphosa urged South African companies to invest in the DRC and vice versa, fostering stronger economic ties between the two nations.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by the continent, including the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising food and fuel prices due to geopolitical tensions, and the impact of climate change, President Ramaphosa remained optimistic about Africa’s potential for growth and development. He emphasized the need to leverage Africa’s abundant resources, such as mineral reserves, arable land, and renewable energy potential, to achieve favorable economic outcomes across the continent.
President Ramaphosa underscored the importance of narrowing the digital divide in Africa, highlighting the continent’s youthful population as “Digital Natives” who are leading the way in technology adoption. He emphasized that Africa’s growing urban population, projected to surpass that of China and India by 2050, presents a significant opportunity for industrialization and economic advancement.
To seize this demographic dividend, President Ramaphosa called for the rapid expansion and diversification of Africa’s industrial capacity. He stressed the importance of shifting from being mere raw material producers to developing a robust manufacturing sector. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the continent’s vulnerability in terms of accessing essential medical supplies, highlighting the need to deepen Africa’s industrial base and invest in science, innovation, and skills development.
President Ramaphosa expressed his desire for South Africa and the DRC to spearhead this industrialization drive by combining their resources, skills, technology, and capital. He identified various sectors with immediate investment opportunities, including food, critical raw materials for green industries, mining equipment, and services like telecommunications, banking, and retail. The President also mentioned the potential for an integrated supply chain for electric vehicle battery manufacturing on the continent.
Mr. Tinashe Mpasiri, a member of the Banking On Africa’s Future (BOAF) Network, commented on President Ramaphosa’s address, affirming the need to narrow the digital divide in Africa. “President Ramaphosa’s emphasis on industrialization and investment is crucial for Africa’s economic growth,” Mr. Mpasiri stated. “However, it is equally important to ensure that all Africans have access to digital technologies and the necessary skills to fully participate in the digital economy. Narrowing the digital divide will accelerate inclusive growth and create more opportunities for the continent’s youth.”
President Ramaphosa concluded his address by emphasizing the importance of closer collaboration between South Africa and the DRC to overcome challenges identified by the private sector. Both countries agreed to hold a Joint Bilateral Working Committee and establish joint technical teams to address trade challenges and investor issues. President Ramaphosa also invited Congolese businesspeople to participate in the South Africa Investment Conference, aiming to raise R2 trillion in new investment over the next five years.
As Africa stands at a critical juncture, President Ramaphosa expressed confidence in the continent’s ability to shape its own destiny and ensure that all Africans benefit from global growth and development. By deepening cooperation and exploring new avenues of endeavor, Africa can forge a better future for its people and achieve sustained