Mr. Aphane's interview with Commercial Times...

South Africa Solves Electricity Crisis To Attract More Investors

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (IPPPP) launched by the South African government in 2011 not only resulted in the generation of additional 3,500MW of electricity from renewable energy sources, but also helped boost the growth of foreign direct investment in South Africa. Over the past five years, the FDI in South African energy and power generation sectors amounted to R190 billion. The current power generation capacity of South Africa is 44,000MW and more power plants are under construction. The overall power generation capacity is expected to reach 70,000MW by 2018. Having solved the energy issues with 18 months of efforts, the South African government hopes to attract more foreign investors.

South Africa is the biggest economy in Africa and has advanced technology, sophisticated infrastructure and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the biggest stock exchange in Africa, according to Musawenkosi Aphane, Representative of the Liaison Office of South Africa. The validity term of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) implemented by the US in 2000 has been extended to 2025. This Act offers trade incentives for the sub-Saharan countries to increase their exports to the US. South Africaˇ¦s export accounts for 85% of the entire export of the Southern Africa to the US.

The textile industry of Taiwan has advanced technology that comes with a long history. As far as Aphane can remember, the clothes he wore and the toys he played with during his childhood were all made in Taiwan. ˇ§I thought Taiwan was lying in the south of Johannesburg and I wanted my mother to take me thereˇ¨, said Aphane. There were once as many as 220,000 Taiwanese textile companies in South Africa. But after 1998, the number dropped to roughly 80,000.

Aphane hoped that Taiwanese businessmen could go back to South Africa and take full advantage of the investment incentives offered by the South African government. AGOA offers duty-free treatment for export to the US. Exporters with plants based in South Africa can also export their products to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC) without having to pay any customs duty. The total population of all the common markets plus the US market amounts to 1 billion. Compared with other countries in Africa, South Africa provides better logistic services enabled by the sophisticated highway, railway and air and sea transport networks.

South Africa boasts advanced technological R&D power. The first successful human-to-human heart transplant was performed in South Africa. The unique coal to liquid fuels technology was developed by South Africa on its own. South Africaˇ¦s first CubeSat, a type of nano-satellite, was successfully launched in 2013. South Africa also actively participates in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), an international radio telescope projects aiming to explore the origin of the universe and to observe the interstellar systems. A South African medical team successfully performed the first penis transplant in the world in 2015.

As the government of Taiwan is currently promoting the five innovative industries, South Africa can cooperate with Taiwan in the realms of biomedicine and auto electronics, said Aphane.