AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
THE South African economy, battered by COVID-19, has received a timely boost – the government has raised R100-billion at the third investment conference hosted in Johannesburg.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has described the conference as a huge success and said focus would now be on implementing the many projects that have attracted investment funding.
Ramaphosa was pleased and said the pledges at the 2020 conference showed that South Africa was on track to raise the R1.2-trillion target that was set in 2018. The R109-billion pledged this year by five companies, brought the total of pledged investments to R773.6-billion.
Ramaphosa said: “This represents around 64 percent of our five-year target. This year’s conference stands out for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is taking place in an extremely subdued economic climate. To secure investment commitments of over R100 billion is therefore a remarkable achievement.
‘Secondly, we are seeing significant numbers of smaller, good quality investments in the manufacturing sector, which is a priority for our recovery. A number of the new announcements are from companies that have made investments in previous years and are now expanding and upgrading.
‘Thirdly, several of the investment commitments made at this conference are in sectors that have been hard-hit by COVID-19, especially the tourism and hospitality industries. These investments will go a long way towards their recovery. As in previous years, the breadth of investments showcases the diversity of the South African economy. This year’s announcements include both greenfield and expansion projects across the country. They range from advanced manufacturing to the automotive sector, from agro-processing to oil and gas, from mining to tourism and hospitality, from the green economy to telecommunications. By bringing investment directly to where people live and work, economic activity is stimulated and opportunities are broadened.
“Automotive plants are being built. Data centres have been opened. Ground has been broken on new factories and facilities, some of them even during the pandemic. Investment brings hope and opportunity to those who need it most – the South African people – and makes a real difference in their lives. We have also seen how companies are ploughing back into the communities in which they operate. They are paving streets and improving sanitation. They are building schools, clinics and housing for their employees. They are establishing training centres to grow a new generation of skilled young people.”
This year’s conference was forced by the COVID-19 to be hybrid. Officially it was attended by 1775 delegates – 15 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and 1700 attended virtually.
Ramaphos added that South Africa’s third investment conference was filled with promise, optimism and was practical
“It has also been a practical conference, focusing on the numerous opportunities that exist in this country, the challenges that investors face and the measures that must be undertaken to address these. The world is still very much in the throes of a devastating pandemic that has thrown global markets into disarray. Tough decisions have had to be made on investments, on expansion and on entry into new markets,” he said.