Africa open for business

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says Africa is ripe with opportunities for those willing to make investments.

Speaking at a public lecture at New York University, Motlanthe dismissed the negative perceptions of Africa, which has been labelled as a difficult place to do business.

Instead, he challenged the audience to contribute towards building Africa, particularly in areas of education, capacity building and infrastructure development. 

He said a new breed of African leadership was emerging, driven by a vision of progress and development and commitment to democracy, peace and stability.

"We call upon the American people in different fields of human endeavour to once again join hands with us, so that together we can contribute to the achievement of these important goals of reconstruction and development," said Motlanthe.

He is in the United States to drive South Africa's new economic strategy, with the aim of getting buy-in from that country.

The Deputy President also emphasised the importance of investing in the development of skills.

He related the challenges of extreme hunger, poverty, the urgent need for massive infrastructural commitments, staggering unemployment levels and universal access to quality education.

"In effect, challenges of development in Africa offer opportunities for academics and intellectuals in the United States and elsewhere in the developed world to make a meaningful contribution in this regard." 

Motlanthe said Americans should invest in South Africa, in spite of issues around the mining sector. 

For some time, there had been concerns that the industry had not transformed as quickly or sufficiently as it could. With calls for nationalising mines, foreign investors have been sceptical. 

"We have enough experience both in the Chamber of Mines and government to ensure that we create an environment in which new investors can come in," Motlanthe assured. 

He said a strong South Africa, which accounts for 50 percent of trade in Africa, helps create a strong Africa. 

Motlanthe is due to meet with Vice President Joe Biden later today. He will end his visit in Chicago on Thursday.