On Friday 22 January 2016 President Jacob Zuma and his delegation held a fruitful and successful interaction with global investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The President met with global CEOs and chairmen of multinational corporations during the Business Interaction Group on South Africa, an annual forum where the President and Ministers engage the international investors to discuss opportunities in the country and also to hear their views on improving the investment climate in the country.
South Africa recognises the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounts for 42% of the country’s GDP. Inward FDI flows continue to grow in South Africa. A number of companies have expanded operations and engaged in new investments. South Africa is also an important source of FDI for the African continent.
In his remarks, President Zuma welcomed the foreign direct investment flows into the country. He shared the country’s response to the depressed economic climate especially the Nine Point Plan to ignite growth. The plan includes agriculture and agro-processing, advanced beneficiation of mineral resources, higher impact industrial policy action plan, boosting small businesses, energy capacity increase, promoting FDI and developing a robust ocean economy, science and technology, water and sanitation and managing state-owned companies. The President added that the country was becoming a frontier for FDI on the green economy, ocean economy, oil and gas and others which provided new opportunities.
He also briefed the investors on the establishment on an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investments and the establishment of a one-stop interdepartmental clearing house to make it easier for companies to invest. “We will focus on among others, cutting the red tape significantly to address the concerns that the investors have been raising,’’ the President said.
The President also briefed the BIG meeting on the efforts to improve education and skills development including the building of new universities, training colleges and the building and refurbishment of schools.
The investors sought information and also commented on various areas including energy, oil and gas, scrap metal industry, ocean economy, mineral beneficiation, human settlements and its importance in building social stability, regional integration, the need to stabilise growth and set expenditure ceilings.
The prudent financial management of the country was addressed strongly by the President and the Ministers with an added emphasis on the country’s robust monetary policy framework. It was acknowledged that South Africa has a good fiscal framework.
The global CEOs emphasised the need to ensure that policies are implemented and that there is certainty at all times.
The need for predictability was also raised in the context of the recent changes of finance ministers and the impact thereof. The President responded that while governments all over the world are entitled to change Ministers, South Africa had responded without delay when concern was raised especially given the economic climate. The meeting appreciated the swift changes that were made afterwards resulting in the appointment of Minister Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Finance.
President Zuma welcomed the participation of the private sector in building the economy. He also assured the business community that South Africa’s economy is resilient, that the country has a strong and vibrant democracy with an active and vocal citizenry and vibrant media all of which acts as good checks and balances to the leadership in the country.
“The BIG meeting has been extremely helpful. We appreciate all the constructive comments and suggestions on all areas from the economy to social development. The positive contribution of the international and domestic business community in such a negative economic climate is very encouraging. This has given us good feedback as we prepare for the State of the Nation Address and Budget next month,’’ said the President.
The President said he was generally upbeat about the visit to Davos.
“We are very happy with the visit. It has definitely been worthwhile. Team South Africa has done extremely well in Davos, marketing the country in a difficult and very competitive economic climate. We managed to put our message across effectively and received a positive hearing. There is a lot that we need to do and we are already working on many of the issues that the global business community has been raising. Team South Africa will meet at home to discuss all these matters further so that we can work together to build our country and take it forward’’ said the President.
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Issued by: The Presidency