DAVOS, SWITZERLAND; JANUARY 27, 2011 – Today at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos Switzerland, Brand South Africa brought together senior leaders from the world of politics, labour and economics to define a regional economic integration plan in Africa. Participants in a panel discussion included Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel; Bill Mills, CEO, Citigroup EMEA; Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive, Anglo American; Acha Leke, McKinsey & Company; and Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Vice President and COO, African Development Bank (ADB). The meeting was co-hosted by Africa investor (Ai), a leading international investment research and communications group. Brand South Africa Chairman, Anitha Soni welcomed the guests and South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan delivered the keynote address.
“This year’s WEF forum is focused on the theme of ‘new realities’, and Africa is the embodiment of the changing dynamics of global business,” said Anitha Soni, Chairman of Brand South Africa. “We convened this meeting to focus on the need to develop African solutions to African challenges. This is best achieved in the spirit of partnership and collaboration.”
In a very short period of time, a great recognition has developed in political and business circles that Africa has arrived on the global stage and that the continent represents a serious business proposition. According to a recent McKinsey Report, there is a $2.6 billion revenue opportunity in Africa. However, while Africa has made strides in recent years and is emerging from the recession in a stable position, intra-continental trade accounts for only 12% of trade in Africa; half of that comes from the SADC, the most advanced trade block in the continent.
The new reality being discussed at WEF emphasises that business and governments need to realise that many existing strategies need to undergo a change, and that the era of single-model solutions to economic problems is over. It is in this context that South Africa recently announced its own New Growth Plan (NGP), focusing on driving competitiveness through job creation, infrastructure development and increasing exports.
“The African continent represents enormous opportunity – for jobs, for growth and for development,” said Minister Patel. “Through the NGP, we will seek to realise these for South Africa and to strengthen economic development across the continent.”
Infrastructure development and cross-border trade emerged as critical issues from the meeting, which Brand South Africa has committed to taking forward at WEF Africa in Cape Town in May. “Productivity doesn’t mean anything is you can’t get goods to market. We need to link short term solutions to infrastructure deficits to the long-term vision of the continent,” said Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Vice President and COO, African Development Bank (ADB).
The ADB spends a quarter of its annual budget on regional integration programmes. According to Moyo, these are difficult to put together, but are critical to the creation of a regional marketplace. Discussions at the Brand South Africa session highlighted that while African economic growth has been spurred, in part, by foreign direct investment (FDI) – the continent cannot and should not depend on it in the future.
“My view is that although FDI is good thing, it always follows what happens domestically,” said Moyo . “If I see citizens taking their money out of their economy and putting it somewhere else, I am going to think they know something I don’t; this does not encourage me to invest there.”
Capturing the event’s overall spirit, Cynthia Carroll, Chief Executive of Anglo American closed her remarks by saying, “South Africa can be the beacon for Africa, and South Africa can be the beacon for the world.”
About Brand South Africa – www.imc.org.za
Brand South Africa was established in August 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa. At that time, the world was unsure about what to think of South Africa, with many different messages being sent out by various sources. This did very little to build the country’s brand and it was evident that to attract tourism and investment there was a need to co-ordinate marketing initiatives to make them more effective. This led to the creation of Brand South Africa, whose main objective is the marketing of South Africa through the Brand South Africa campaign.
About Africa investor – www.africa-investor.com
Africa investor is a specialist investment communications firm advising governments, international organisations and businesses on communication strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa. Africa investor publishes Africa investor, the leading international newsstand magazine for Africa’s investment decision makers; maintains the Africa investor 40 Investors’ Index, hosts the Ai index Series Summit & Awards and the Africa investor Infrastructure Projects Summit & Awards amongst other events.
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