Widespread support for South African Investment Conference

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

International and local investors are set to attend the fourth South African Investment Conference (SAIC), which will be held on 24 March at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

The conference aims to build on the successes of the first three conferences, which showcased investment opportunities available in the country.

In April 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would host an investment conference with the aim of raising R1.2 trillion over a five-year period. Since its initial launch, SAIC has drawn delegates from South Africa and the world.

As the country has evolved because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will have a hybrid format, with the main event being held in person and the plenary sessions livestreamed for an online audience.

According to a statement on the SA Investment Conference website, a fifth conference will be held next year with the same objective of showcasing investment opportunities available in South Africa with an aim of growing the economy, which has been badly battered by the pandemic and the resultant worldwide economic slowdown, likely to worsen as a result of global geo-political uncertainties.

South African Naspers CEO, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, welcomed what she saw as the business-friendly tone of the investment conference.

“In order to fully drive confidence, it is critical that business leaders and policymakers work together to create a consistent policy environment that encourages investment and supports local innovation, where South African tech companies and talent can thrive,” Mahanyele-Dabengwa said.

Naspers is a global internet group and one of the seven main sponsors of the conference.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the company supports government’s drive to bridging the significant digital divide, which is key for the masses who live in the rural parts of the country, so they can “be part of the digital economy and reap the associated economic benefits”.

This is in line with government’s key priority and an objective of the investment conference – tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Industry buy-in

Mining will be in the spotlight at the conference, as government is finalising its mining exploration strategy to better attract investors and encourage those who are already operating in this field.

The CEO of mining giant Anglo-American, Mark Cutifani, pointed out that mining is a critical driver of economic growth, transformation and development across many communities in South Africa.

“South Africans across the public and private sectors are invested in mining through their savings, pension schemes and other investment mechanisms. This is why I am passionate about the contribution we make as an industry, and the necessity to continue transforming ourselves for the benefit of all South Africans,” said Cutifani.

Cutifani said Anglo-American, which is one of the sponsors of the investment conference, is one of the biggest investors in South Africa.

One of the main aims of the investment conference is to drive job creation across the public and private sectors.

This is the outspoken intent, too, of the largest black-empowered resource company, Exxaro.

Exxaro’s CEO designate, Dr Nombasa Tsengwa, stressed that the company is fully aware that “our prosperity as a country is linked to our continent; [and] we cannot thrive alone”.

“As the objectives of the investment conference and that of Exxaro are aligned, it made perfect sense to come aboard as a sponsor,” Tsengwa said.

Building economic and social infrastructure is the broad background against which the investment conference takes place.

An essential part of the building blocks of this approach is a comprehensive social compact between government, business, labour and communities.

This can be seen through the sponsors of the conference, including the major brewery company, SAB.

SAB CEO, Richard Rivett-Carnac, said the company is committed to creating sustainable investments and driving real, tangible growth for the economy.

“South Africa has been the home for SAB for centuries, tracing all the way back to Charles Glass and the Castle Brewery that he started in 1888,” Rivett-Carnac said.

Huawei South Africa CEO, Spawn Fan, said as a proud sponsor of the 4th annual South African Investment Conference, Huawei continues to pledge support and commitment to the country and President Ramaphosa’s dedication to the advancement of its electronics and ICT sectors and the 4IR through innovative and revolutionary technology.

Discovery CEO, Adrian Gore, reiterated that South Africa is larger and more relevant than most people think.

Discovery, which is the seventh and final sponsor of the SAIC, is a shared value insurance company, whose purpose and ambition are achieved through a pioneering business model that incentivises people to be healthier, and enhances and protects their lives. – SAnews.gov.za