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The US Treasury is optimistic about the South African economy

The US Treasury is optimistic about the South African economy

US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said cooperation between government and business is strengthening South Africa's prospects, despite the many challenges facing the economy. Adeyemo, who spent five days in South Africa meeting with government officials and businessmen, noted that the country's economy is growing despite obstacles including electricity shortages and disruption of ports and rail freight lines. That's partly because companies are working with the state to fix problems, he said.

“Coming to South Africa made me more optimistic about the South African economy than I was before I came here,” he said in an interview at Bloomberg's Johannesburg office on Friday. “If they can mitigate those headwinds, which they have the ability to do, there is a real opportunity for them to grow beyond expectations,” he said of the country.

Adeyemo's visit comes as the United States and South Africa try to repair relations strained by Pretoria's refusal to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and allegations by the US ambassador, denied by the government, that the African country may have supplied weapons to Russia. South Africa is also part of the BRICS political bloc alongside the United States' geopolitical rivals, China and Russia.

The United States is a major investor in South Africa, with more than 600 of its companies supporting 230,000 jobs in Africa's largest economy, according to Adeyemo. American companies, including Ford and Walmart, have invested in South Africa. America is the country's second largest trading partner after China.

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Investors are concerned that diplomatic wrangling will disrupt that relationship. Adeyemo said that given the ongoing talks between the two countries and the depth of American investments, these fears are unfounded.

He said South African companies “want to do more with the US, more with the UK, more with Europe”. “Both sides recognize the value of the relationship given our shared values ​​and the importance of South Africa to the United States.”

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