Durban - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has assured investors and the business community that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination due to its strong institutions and a strong legal framework.
Speaking at a panel discussion on Africa’s economic outlook during the World Economic Forum on Africa, Gigaba moved to allay any fears of instability in the country.
He said the country was a vibrant democracy as all the changes in leadership had come through democratic processes and therefore there was no need for alarm.
“South Africa is a democratic country, we go through periodic elections every five year. This year there is going to be an elective conference of the ruling party and that is part of democracy. At that moment there will be a contestation for leadership. It happens everywhere”.
Commenting on the exchange rate, he said its volatility cannot be linked to the recent cabinet reshuffle.
“We have seen it appreciating and it is stabilised. It has been volatile for a very long time and the volatility does not emanate from a cabinet reshuffle because we do not have those on a regular basis, On occasion it could have had something to do with changes in the finance ministry but it has been volatile for a very long time” Gigaba said
Gigaba said the main risks for Africa are persistent poverty, inequality and unemployment. These could be addressed through a more integrated Africa growing in an inclusive manner, he said.
Diversifying economies and making investments into infrastructure networks connecting countries in the continent need to be a priority to promote intra-Africa trade.
However political will is needed for African countries to trade with one another, he said.
“I always get a sense that it does not exist”.
Africa’s youthful population is the population for the future and therefore remains the continent’s biggest asset, Gigaba added.
Ulrich Spiesshofer, the co-chairman of WEF on Africa said for Africa to prosper it will need to address two main issues. The first one being that the exploitation of the continent’s natural resources is creating jobs outside Africa.
Another one is that imports flooding the continent are the ones satisfying consumer demand.
Frederic Lemoine, also the co-chairman of WEF on Africa said Africa risk is often overestimated.
INDEPENDENT MEDIA WEF TEAM