Team SA woos investors at WEF

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Team South Africa will return to South Africa after completing a very successful pilgrimage to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meetings, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We’ve had a very, very successful pilgrimage to Davos. The journey has paid dividends,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

Speaking at a press briefing on day three of the meeting in the snow-ridden city of Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, the Deputy President said the South African delegation will return home with the confidence that investors have given the country a good report.

“We’ve heard nothing negative said about our country,” said the Deputy President on Thursday, adding that investors had encouraged the country to press forward and follow through with reforms.

“We go home with a bag full of investment commitments. Investors are buoyed… this is what we have been hoping to hear. We want to hear investors say that our message is clear,” said the Deputy President at the second last day of the annual meeting.

At the start of the meeting on Tuesday, South Africa held several interactions with partners in government and business as part of not only positioning the country favourably but also as part of building partnerships to address global issues.

Nuclear build

At Thursday’s briefing at the WEF - Media Village Press Conference Room, Deputy President Ramaphosa said discussions around the matter are still ongoing.

“We’ve got to look at where our economy is…. We have no money for nuclear power plants. We need to look at the situation within our current context,” he said.

This as South Africa’s power utility Eskom announced last year that it currently has surplus energy.

South Africa’s approved Integrated Resource Plan of 2010-30 provides for coal, gas, renewables and 9600 megawatt nuclear as part of the energy landscape by 2030.

Currently, nuclear constitutes about 6% of the South African energy mix – with 1 800 megawatts of electricity supplied to the national grid by the Koeberg nuclear plant.

Growth prospects

Meanwhile, the Deputy President told the briefing that corruption and the balance sheets of State Owned Entities (SOEs) has impeded growth. In December, Statistics South Africa announced that South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2% in the third quarter of 2017.

Second quarter GDP growth, which pulled the South African economy from a technical recession, was revised from 2.5% to 2.8% after the incorporation of revised data sources.

The Deputy President said the mining charter will be further discussed as the country does not want to miss the commodity boom.

Investor confidence

The Deputy President’s comments were further reiterated by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies who said that investors have a more optimistic view of South Africa following the recent political developments in December 2017.

“Investors have a much more optimistic view of South Africa than last year,” he said, adding that South Africa has had a stable political transition and that there is a strong commitment to address the issue of state capture.

He said the country has turned a corner and that “we are beginning to get on top of our challenges”.

This, he said, has been welcomed by investors and that this move would ensure that the country amps up efforts to strengthen investment.

Over the years, South Africa has been trying to identify concrete investment opportunities that investors could make use of. This lead to the establishment of the Invest SA One Stop Shop initiative that facilitates the process of investing in the country.

Job creation

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, said the country is focused on job creation, the advancement of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs), as well as on addressing infrastructure maintenance issues.

Government, he said, is also set on the implantation of the National Development Plan (NDP), as well as addressing the drought in the Western Cape.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said over the course of the meeting, investors have expressed a growing appetite to expand their operations into South Africa.

“We see it as a great base. We have $25 billion ready for infrastructure spending [and] that gives certainty to investors,” said Minister Patel.

The WEF annual meeting, which brings together political, business and broader civil society leadership under the theme, “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, will conclude on Friday. -

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