SA's investment drive soldiers on despite COVID pandemic

Thursday, March 17, 2022

South Africa’s investment drive has soldiered on, despite the devastating COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating slow economic recovery.

This was on Wednesday revealed during a business breakfast as South Africa gears to host the fourth instalment of the South African Investment Conference (SAIC) next week.

The SAIC spearheads government’s investment drive of attracting R1.2 trillion investment in five years. The business breakfast was attended by business executives and investment envoys representing various African states and representatives of the South African government.

“South Africa remains an investment destination of choice,” said Ambassador Sadick Jaffer, Department of Trade and Industry, Chief Director: Investment Promotion in InvestSA. InvestSA is a division of the Department.

“At the last SAIC held in Johannesburg in 2020, about 50 entities made new investment pledges to the value of R109 billion, bringing the 3-year total to 774 billion. Five of these projects, worth R4.3 billion have already been launched and 21 others are under construction or being rolled out – these are worth R34 billion,” Jaffer reported.

Of the 71 projects announced in 2019, 24 projects had been launched and an additional 25 projects worth R199.4 billion were under construction.

In addition, he said seven projects worth R45.6 billion, accounting for 12.5% of investments made in 2019, were in the early stages of implementation.

Against the backdrop of slow economic recovery exacerbated by a devastating COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted the global supply chain, our investment drive soldiered on.

“We adapted and adopted new ways of engaging with potential investors with one central message – South Africa remains an investment destination of choice,” said Jaffer.

The chief director said the investments were monitored until completion, saying this was with the aim of identifying challenges timeously and assisting when required.

Presidential Investment envoy, Jeff Radebe, said South Africa’s strategic position within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) placed it in good stead to benefit from opportunities presented by AfCTA.

“Africa offers investors access to a market of more than one billion people with a gross domestic product that exceeds $2.6 trillion,” he noted.

The former Minister said historic trade barriers were coming down and economic activities were increasingly conducted seamlessly across the continent.

“Africa is growing fast into an integrated investment destination,” he said.

AfCTA, which brings together 55 member states of the African Union, and came into effect in January 2021, aims to accelerate intra-continental trade and boost Africa’s standing in the global market.

“AfCFTA adds a new dimension to the 2022 Investment Conference,” Radebe added.

“Now we can demonstrate the significant advantages of investing in the South African economy and how returns can be multiplied through access to a much larger market. South Africa is an attractive destination for investors located outside of the continent. Many such companies also prefer to locate their regional headquarters here because of the access to quality infrastructure and connections to global supply networks.

"Through our participation in AfCFTA, we have preferential access to African markets and a deep understanding of business conditions on the continent.” –