9 May 2013
President Jacob Zuma has extended a warm welcome to delegates attending the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting, which opened in Cape Town on Thursday.
This prestigious two-day gathering brings together heads of state and government, eminent persons and captains of commerce and industry from around Africa and the world to deliberate on matters affecting the global economy, with a special focus on Africa.
Nine heads of state and government are attending this year’s WEF on Africa meeting.
“We welcome this opportunity to showcase our beautiful country to the world once more,” Zuma said. “We also have an opportunity to demonstrate to investors the competitive advantages of our economy.
“We are rated highly on areas such as infrastructure development, financial markets, technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation.”
Speaking at the Nigeria-South Africa Business Forum in Cape Town on Tuesday, Zuma noted that six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies over the last decade were in Africa, and that sub-Saharan Africa, with an expected annual growth of five percent, was projected to continue its move from a developing region to a hub of global growth.
The process of establishing a continental free trade area – bringing together the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community – “should encourage the business sector to look even more favourably within the continent for investments”, Zuma said.
“This will be Africa’s biggest free trade bloc, with a single continent-wide market estimated to be worth a trillion US dollars. The 26 African countries involved have an aggregate GDP of $860-billion and a combined population of 600 million people.”
South Africa will use WEF to promote its National Development Plan and to attract new investments, particularly in the focus areas of agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy, infrastructure development and tourism.