SA hard at work to clear path for investment

Friday, October 26, 2018

Opening the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on potential investors to invest in the country for more bang for their buck.

“We invite you to invest in our mines and factories, farms and game parks, call centres and technology hubs, refineries and solar farms.

“We invite you to invest in our people, to harness their energy and unleash their latent capabilities,” President Ramaphosa said on Friday.

The President was addressing the 1 050 delegates made up of heavyweights from government, business leaders and captains of industry.

The three-day conference forms part of government’s plan to raise at least $100 billion in investment over the next five years in a bid to boost the country’s economy.

The President said the country has worked to attain an environment favourable to investment.

“We have implemented policies to promote black economic empowerment to provide black people, women and people with disabilities with assets and opportunities they need to participate more meaningfully in economic activity. It is a good thing because by so doing, [we] are getting all South Africans to participate in ensuring that this vehicle that is SA Inc. operates on all eight cylinders.”

The South Africa Investment Conference builds on the recent Presidential Job Summit, where labour, business, government and the community constituency adopted a ground breaking Framework Agreement to prevent further job losses, create jobs and support companies in distress.

The conference takes place under the theme ‘Accelerating Growth by Building Partnerships’.

In line with the theme, President Ramaphosa stressed that the bold target of $100 billion can only be achieved if everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel.

“We have emphasised the need for more South African companies to lead the investment charge, demonstrating that they have confidence in this economy and in its ability to deliver decent and reliable returns,” said the President.

To ensure ease of investment, President Ramaphosa outlined government’s work in addressing stumbling blocks that impede investment - among them is  Invest SA, a one-stop shop that provides information, facilitation and aftercare for businesses and investors. Through this initiative, government aims to fast track investment projects and reduce red tape.

SOE stability

 President Ramaphosa also highlighted that the restoration of State-owned enterprises is key to clearing the path and creating stability for investors.

“Given the crucial role of these State-owned enterprises in the economy, as providers of critical infrastructure and bulk services, it is essential that they be restored as engines of growth and development.

“We have replaced the leadership in several state owned enterprises, ensuring that we have people with experience, integrity and the relevant skills who are now leading the development and implementation of sustainable business models,” said the President.

Cementing the efforts of government to boost the economy, President Ramaphosa reminded delegates of the recently-launched stimulus package.

The package announced in September includes initiatives around growth-enhancing economic reforms, the reprioritisation of public spending to stimulate and support job creation, the establishment of an infrastructure fund, key interventions in education and health, and investment in social infrastructure in municipalities.

“We are here to declare that we are determined to build a country that is driven by enterprise and innovation, to develop an economy that is diverse and resilient and prosperous, and to create companies that achieve sustained returns not only for their shareholders, but also for the workers that drive them and the communities that support them,” said President Ramaphosa.

Land key to economic transformation

On the issue of land, President Ramaphosa told investors that land reform is key to the economic transformation of the country.

“We need to accelerate land reform not only to redress a historical injustice, but also to effectively unlock the economic potential of the country’s land,” he said.

Rallying the potential investors, President Ramaphosa noted the R1 billion Gibela passenger train manufacturing factory which was opened on Thursday.

The investment is a collaboration between Alstom from France and a local consortium made up of black businesses and the community.

The President hailed the invested as a clear demonstration of the plethora of opportunities available to investors.

In closing his welcome address, President Ramaphosa urged delegates to use the conference to engage, network and source out opportunities to invest in South Africa. –