Govt, business to drive SA agenda at WEF

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretoria - Team South Africa will use the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, to reassure global political and business leaders that it is ready to stage a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Team SA, a partnership between South African business and government, will aim to position the country as "the next big thing."

The partnership also aims to drive dialogue on the African agenda and will be encouraging WEF delegates to look South for fresh solutions to a better world, by experiencing the magnitude of the country's trade and investment offerings.

"This is a conversation we want to engender and seed at the World Economic Forum," said International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) Chairperson, Anitha Soni.

With the rise of China, India, and Brazil among others as economic powerhouses, the global order is fast becoming more democratic, she said.

"South Africa may not rank with these countries in GDP terms, but based on its track record, experience and position within Africa. Its voice is an important and influential one."

Represented in the partnership are the Presidency, IMC, Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS), Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), Discovery, Old Mutual, ABSA, Telkom, Nedbank, MTN, Sasol, Investec, Transnet and First Rand.

BLSA chief executive, Michael Spicer said the partnership is the beginning of a long-term public-private collaboration that delivers results-led dialogue between business and government.

"It is the aim of this partnership to increase our global competitiveness rating by contributing to the setting of the global agenda, which is, in essence, firmly aligned to the goals of the IMC.

He said both business and government were well poised to exploit this focus towards profiling the sound economic fundamentals of a country, and one that was ready to play a vital role in the economic growth and development of the region.

BUSA said the collaboration was undoubtedly a critical ingredient of the country's success at this year's WEF.

"South Africa can influence the conversation amongst the 20 percent influencers with 80 percent of impact only when working together at WEF, especially given the importance of the constituency," said CEO Jerry Vilikazi.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, said addressing new ways of doing things is expected to have a direct bearing on how countries will be able to improve their global competitiveness.

"It is therefore important to ensure that any global solutions are developed by all stakeholders with the inclusion of a strong African representation. This is unashamedly the South African agenda at Davos," said Davies.

He added that these so called "fresh solutions for a better world" are more often than not simple concepts with a tangible impact and require nothing less than thinking defined by seeing solutions and not barriers.

Organised under the theme, "Improve the State of the World: Rethink Redesign and Rebuild," this year's annual meeting comes within the context of promoting a global system of governance.

The five-day gathering of movers and shakers will be assessing a host of issues facing the planet, from disaster aid in the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake to reforms aimed at preventing another financial markets collapse.