Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead South Africa’s delegation, which will include business leaders. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Against the backdrop of recent negative ratings actions, sluggish economic growth and poor consumer and investor confidence, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) expects South Africa to prioritise economic reforms that are necessary to reignite growth.

As South Africa’s delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting is set to depart for Davos, Switzerland, Busa President Jabu Mabuza yesterday said South Africa should focus on, among others, fiscal discipline, regulatory and policy certainty as well as clear plans to reignite growth and create employment.”

According to the National Treasury, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead South Africa’s delegation, which will include business leaders. Other members of the delegation will be Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe, Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko and Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana Mashabane.

Commenting on what the country’s priorities should be ahead of WEF, Mabuza said: “Our view is that there will be a critical need to demonstrate an urgent refocus and credible solutions to the key issues that resulted in our deteriorated creditworthiness, including clear plans for the reform of our key (state-owned companies) as a priority and commitment to fiscal discipline (which entails) strong measures on cost containment and structural reforms to boost growth and revenue collection to arrest the unsustainable increase in government debt and increases in fiscal deficits.”

He said the WEF meetings presented an opportunity to demonstrate that South Africa was serious about implementing the measures necessary to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth and fiscal consolidation in order to regain its investment grade ratings as a foundation for growing the economy and to reduce unemployment.

“We believe that, as complex as the challenges we face are, with demonstrable ethical and inspirational leadership and collaboration, we can send out a strong message that South Africa is open for business, thereby achieving our common vision of job creation and sustainable inclusive economic growth for the benefit of all South Africans,” said Mabuza.

Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) general secretary Dennis George said yesterday that the country should use the WEF meetings to promote South Africa as an investment destination.

“But to do that we need to ensure that there is stability at a political level. To an extent, this has been addressed with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa (as ANC president).

"In addition to that, we need to address problems at state-owned companies such as South African Airways (SAA) and Eskom. SAA has a new board and chief executive officer. But their problems are massive,” said George.

George, who was part of the South African delegation last year, said he would not be travelling to Davos this year.

The WEF 2018 kicks off on Tuesday next week.ISKS

Ahead of the conference, the WEF yesterday released a global risk report which is based on the perspectives perspectives of global experts and decision-makers on the most significant risks that face the world.