20 October 2008
South Africa should actively communicate its economic achievements and potential to the global investor community, says the country’s International Investment Council (IIC).
In a statement released after a two-day meeting of the council in Mossel Bay, IIC members emphasised the need to communicate South Africa’s achievements to the global investor community, especially the country’s economic potential and attractiveness as an investment destination.
President Kgalema Motlanthe, accompanied by other Cabinet ministers, met with the council for the first time this weekend after being elected President a month ago.
Economic growth and development
Established in 1999, the IIC has drawn on the wisdom and insights of distinguished international business leaders on how to meet the challenges of economic growth and development in South Africa.
They have concentrated their advice on practical ways in which South Africa should position itself as an investment destination of choice globally.
The deliberations over this weekend included a review of experiences and the lessons from the work of the IIC over the past years, as well as reflections on the present global economic challenges.
Among the challenges facing the country’s economy are insufficient energy to meet rising demand, a shortage of skills, and the need to increase productivity and boost infrastructure development.
Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said the government’s response to the tightening economic conditions was to speed up industrial development, continue promoting small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and further strengthen the state’s capacity to unlock the country’s economic potential.
“The council also advised us that we need to have backup plans for our skills shortage plans,” he said.
Facing up to challenges
The IIC has also stressed need to pay attention to energy challenges, in particular the electricity supply emergency and the challenge of climate change.
They further expressed their continued confidence in the country and commended the government for demonstrable efforts and stepping up implementation of the policies and programmes it has adopted in the course of the evolution of the IIC.
On the current global financial crisis, it noted that South Africa’s regulatory environment and policy choices made by the government had shielded the economy to a large extend from the turmoil that has swept across financial markets around the world.
“While the South African financial system and banks remain intact, the potential impact on the South African economy from the imminent global slowdown was a matter of concern,” said the IIC, adding that South Africa would be able to weather the adverse global environment, and that continued investment growth, especially ongoing public sector investment, would assist.