SA steady on its path of growth, renewal

Friday, January 25, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the international community and potential investors that South Africa is on a path of renewal and growth, with the country strengthening partnerships for inclusive economic growth and development.

President Ramaphosa provided this assurance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where he led the participation of Team South Africa comprising government, business and labour.

The President participated in various high-level discussions and held talks with global leaders of government and the corporate sector, where he drew international attention to the turnaround unfolding in South Africa after nearly a decade of economic stagnation and political paralysis.

A central element of the turnaround that the President mentioned is the pursuit of higher levels of domestic and international investment, especially in key industrial sectors. Technology, as well as the skilling of the labour force to meet the demands of the digital economy, was another central element to the President’s message.

On the investment climate, President Ramaphosa pointed out that government has finalised the Mining Charter following consultations with business, labour and communities, which has reduced much of the uncertainty that has held back mining investment.

Further, 27 outstanding power-purchase agreements with independent power producers have been concluded, which will create an estimated 61 000 jobs and enable investments of around R56 billion.

The process for the allocation of broadband radio spectrum, the sustainable approach to energy planning through the Integrated Resource Plan for consideration by Parliament and the revised Public Procurement Bill to allow small, township and rural firms to participate more effectively in public procurement, were also key points highlighted to the investors.

Another milestone for SA has been the establishment of a panel to advise government on measures to effect fair and equitable land reform, which will increase agricultural output and create employment.

The country is also tackling corruption through the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, which is currently unearthing important information about the nature and extent of State capture.

President Ramaphosa said this would assist South Africa to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again and that those responsible are held accountable.

Fourth Industrial Revolution 

The WEF gathering, themed ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, is also a platform for South Africa to contribute to global debates and to help shape responses to challenges in the global economy.

In line with this theme, President Ramaphosa said there is an opportunity to harness the power of innovation to transform the South African economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Given the country’s medium level of economic sophistication and diversification, there is wide scope for adapting foreign technologies and turning private R&D into a more powerful driver of corporate profitability and economic growth.

“We are implementing reforms to increase investment in mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, through strengthening competition among internet service providers, and improving the quality and reducing the price of ICT services.”

Government and social partners will in due course reflect on the WEF deliberations and identify opportunities the country can pursue and challenges it has to address, based on the global debates at Davos.

India State visit 

With WEF concluded, President Ramaphosa and his delegation are travelling to India for a State visit, which will see him being a chief guest at India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations this weekend.

The Presidency said the state visit will entail focused engagements on the strengthening of relations between South Africa and India in a broad range of sectors involving cooperation between the two governments and between the private sectors in the two BRICS member states.

India is currently South Africa’s second largest trading partner in Asia and ranks among South Africa’s top 10 trade partners.

In 2017, bilateral trade reached R107 billion (approximately $8 billion). Trade for the period January to November 2018 totalled R101 billion.

Indian investments in South Africa currently stand at $8 billion and have created an estimated 18 000 jobs. –