PwC has launched a Japanese-Africa desk to facilitate investment and partnerships, and improve links between businesses in Africa and Japan.
Simon Venables, Leader of PwC’s Japanese Business Network in sub-Saharan Africa and a Corporate Finance partner, says that Japan is a key investor and long-term partner across the African continent. "Enquiries to enter the market, expand presence across the continent and grow business activities have increased recently," he said.
The Japanese desk is the newest addition to PwC’s international business services, which are manned by multidisciplinary teams of specialists. These international business centres provide a wide range of services for companies operating in South Africa and those operating outside of the country.
PwC’s Japan Desk has two key objectives. The first is to assist Japanese companies with their business interests in Africa, the second is to advise non-Japanese companies that make investments into or trade with Japan. Within the PwC global network, the company has also formed the JBN (Japanese Business Network), a diverse group of professionals dedicated to creating a bridge between various countries and Japan. Both Japanese and local professionals provide support to Japanese companies that plan to expand into the international market.
Historically, Japanese entities have made good long-term partners in Africa. They develop skills, have high standards in governance, and focus on developing long-term sustainable business models. Japan is among one of the top investors in South Africa with over 280 companies. At the 2016 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (‘TICAD VI’), Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to invest $30bn in the African continent. Since TICAD VI a number of Japanese companies have looked at investing in South Africa and East Africa.
More recently, at the Japan-Africa Public-Private Forum in Johannesburg, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called on Japanese companies to accelerate investment in Africa. Africa’s exports to Asia as a whole are estimated to be worth around $64 billion, of which Japan accounts for around $8.3 billion.
PwC’s Japanese desk works from the office in Johannesburg, helping clients overcome increasingly complex matters. These include financial reporting, taxation, doing deals, human resources management, supply chain, sustainability, legal and regulatory compliance as well as risk management. Using its vast network, the firm is also able to work alongside investors who operate in multiple jurisdictions, enter new markets or sectors, and transform their organisations to meet the needs of tomorrow.
The PwC team includes senior people well versed in working with Japan and international investors, and secondees from the company's Japanese practice who work closely with colleagues in the Japanese firm. it provide services to a large number of Japanese clients in Africa, spanning a wide variety of sectors including agriculture, consumer, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, infrastructure, power and trading houses, and technology.