Philippine Embassy in South Africa takes pride in Filipino firms
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - April 30, 2018 - 12:00am

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Philippine Embassy in Pretoria hopes to see more Filipino companies establish their presence in this part of the world as the Philippines and South Africa mark 25 years of diplomatic relations this year.

In an interview with The STAR, Philippine Ambassador to South Africa Joseph Angeles urged other Filipino investors to follow in the footsteps of tycoons Enrique Razon and Carlos Chan who both braved the markets in Southern Africa and South Africa, respectively.

Razon’s International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has been operating in the port of Toamasina in Madagascar since 2005, while Chan’s Liwayway Group officially commenced operations of its factory in Centurion, which is outside Johannesburg, just last January.

ICTSI owns and operates 30 container ports and terminals worldwide, while Liwayway is the snack foods giant behind the iconic Oishi brand.  Liwayway’s South African expansion is the company’s first foray outside Asia and marks the ninth country where Liwayway has set up operations after the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and India.

“ICTSI is in Madagascar, while Liwayway is in South Africa. We really consider it a milestone to have Filipino presence here,” Angeles said in a meeting in Johannesburg.

ICTSI is looking to expand operations, Angeles said.

Liwayway, for its part, is just a new presence in South Africa but Chan, its chairman, said there are opportunities for growth in this country.

So far, only ICTSI and Liwayway are the Filipino giants here, Angeles said.

He said the embassy is always ready to help Filipino investors interested in setting up shop in South Africa and vice versa.

Consul Joselito Jacinto said the Philippines and South Africa mark this year 25 years of diplomatic relations since the Philippine Embassy was established in South Africa in 1993.

In 1994, Philippine Amb. Leonides Caday presented his credentials to then President Nelson Mandela as the first resident ambassador of the Philippines to South Africa.

The Philippine Embassy has consular jurisdiction over South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

Jacinto said there are over 1,000 overseas Filipinos in South Africa and a total of 4,000 in the embassy’s whole jurisdiction. Many are in the professional health sector and some are in the garments and packaging industries, he said.

In terms of economic relations, South Africa is said to be the largest trading partner of the Philippines in Africa. Mandela’s visit to Manila in 1997 led to the ratification of the Philippines-South Africa Trade Agreement in 2002.

“We hope to increase the economic footprint of Filipinos here,” Jacinto said in the same meeting.

Toward this end, the Department of Trade and Industry, together with the Philippine Embassy here organized a big business delegation to encourage more investments from both sides.

A similar activity will take place this year.

He expressed hope such activities would translate to more Philippine investments in South Africa to further improve economic relations between the two countries.

“There are a lot of opportunities for the embassy to work on. There are so many things to be explored to deepen relations,” Jacinto said.

DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS PHILIPPINE EMBASSY
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