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South Africa: Minister Davies Concludes Visit to France

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has arrived back in the country, following his visit to France where he was leading a South African delegation to the Viva Technology Conference and Exhibition (VivaTech) that took place in Paris, France from 24 to 26 May 2018.

The VivaTech conference and exhibition was dedicated to innovation and digital transformation focused on start-ups. For the first time, up to 50 African start-ups from four key sectors gathered in a dedicated zone with local incubators and accelerators. Selected start-ups will pitch their solutions.

the dti, through Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA) funded a group of start-ups which exhibited at the VivaTech showcasing their products and services within the ICT space.

Minister Davies says that the focus on African innovation at this year's edition of Viva Tech was good for the continent and the country. Two South African start-ups emerged victors at the summit. The Johannesburg-based artificial intelligence company Vizibiliti Insight won the first place in the Verizon Challenge and has been invited to visit Verizon's headquarters in New York. The Cape Town-based, Sun Exchange won the AFD Energy Blockchain Challenge.

Minister Davies' programme in Paris included bilateral meetings with the Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Ms Delphine Geny-Stephann, Mr Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister of Europe, as well as Swedish Minister of Economy and Social Tech. The meeting with Ms Delphine Geny-Stephann agreed that South Africa will host the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) later this year. The last SA-France JEC was held in France last year and it is co-chaired by Minister Davies and his French counterpart.

The bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Ms Delphine Geny-Stephann also discussed the hosting of South Africa- France Business to be held in South Africa in November this year. France will bring key Chief Executive Officers to look at the opportunities of investing in South Africa.

Minister Davies also addressed the French business confederation, MEDEF International to promote investments. MEDEF International is the largest organisation of the French private sector at an international level. Invest SA has a cooperation agreement with Business France that is intended to attract and facilitate French investments into South Africa. Davies told the French Business that South Africa has entered a new dawn, a new era with our economy occupying centre stage. Minister Davies mentioned that business confidence and investor sentiment were improving and government was responding to create a dynamic and enabling business environment and a better South Africa for all.

He mentioned that government was initiating measures to set the economy on a new path of growth, employment and transformation. Minister Davies called on French companies to participate in the Youth Employment Service initiative.

"On the 27th March 2018 we launched the Youth Employment Service initiative, also known as the YES initiative.The YES initiative aims to see more than one million youth offered work experience over three years. I would like to urge all companies with a presence in South Africa to get involved in the YES initiative," said Davies.

Minister Davies concluded by saying enhancing investor confidence was critical to positioning South Africa as one of the leading emerging market investment destinations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.
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