7 July 2010
The 2010 Fifa World Cup has helped to market South Africa as a key player, President Jacob Zuma told about 80 international portfolio fund managers gathered in Cape Town on Tuesday, urging them to explore Africa’s numerous investment opportunities.
“They have seen the warm friendly people of our country, they have seen the precision when it comes to planning and arrangements, and they have seen the efficiency when it comes to our security,” Zuma told the fund managers.
“We have had a most successful and exciting time in the last three weeks. It really has been an emotional rollercoaster for all 32 teams competing.”
South Africa has ‘come a long way’
South Africa, he said, had come a long way since its first democratic elections in 1994.
“A mere 20 years ago, nobody could want to come here. Apartheid seemed near impossible to overcome, but we did. We did not give up. We overcame,” he said.
He said while the World Cup, like the Rugby World Cup in 1995, had the ability to unite South Africans and transform the country, it would also leave a lasting legacy on jobs, education and infrastructure.
South Africa had made “good” returns from the World Cup, including R32-billion spent on transport and telecoms and 66 000 jobs created through the building of new stadiums.
“I don’t think any would say no if we said, let us have the Olympics, because we have the facilities,” Zuma said.
Explore African investment
He urged the fund managers, from countries such as Finland, Singapore, Chile and the UK, to explore Africa’s many investment opportunities.
“Africa is open for business, explore your opportunities and find new partners and find returns on your investment. It is a positive time,” said Zuma.
He said the fact that Africa had performed better than most during the recent global economic crisis confirmed that the continent was “a very different place” to what it had historically been perceived as.
South Africa was a central market between the emerging economies of South-east Asia and South America and was also centrally placed for southern African countries, through the Southern African Customs Union.
New centres of growth
Zuma said the new global framework being drawn up by the G20, of which South Africa was a member, must create new opportunities for new centres of economic growth and allow new entrants into the mainstream.
As such, he believed African countries should not be viewed simply as exporters of raw materials and aid beneficiaries.
“We want to be seen as a development partner, as a partner to work with to transform international power relations,” said Zuma.
He also called for a re-look at how heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were elected, saying the process needed to be more “thorough and just” and not simply based on the nominee’s nationality.
Historically, the IMF’s managing director has been European and the president of the World Bank has been from the US.