Busa president Sipho Pityana is the only representative from Southern Africa on the panel of seven co-chairpersons. Photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said on Thursday that its president, Sipho Pityana, had been appointed as co-chairperson of the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, which will take place in Cape Town next month. 

Pityana is the only representative from Southern Africa on the panel of seven co-chairpersons. 

“It is an honour to be able to present a South African perspective at this crucial gathering, particularly given that the theme – ‘Shaping inclusive growth and shared futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' – is so relevant to our country and to our continent,” Pityana said. 

“The slowdown in global economic activity and the difficult economic conditions on the continent should galvanise us to work co-operatively to manage trade-offs between supporting demand, protecting social spending, and ensuring that public debt remains on a sustainable path,” Pityana said. 

The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) came at a delicate moment in South Africa’s history, Pityana said. 

“If Africa is not part of the conversation around 4IR, there is a real risk of the continent being marginalised yet again – as was the case with the first three industrial revolutions. 4IR is an opportunity to leapfrog the growth of our continent. 

“It offers tremendous developmental opportunities, if we are ahead of the game and put it at the centre of our macro-economic and development planning. WEF Africa is a crucial forum for exchanging ideas on Africa’s economic revival, and on putting sustainable and inclusive economic growth at the centre of our vision for the future. 

“As well, ensuring that the policies we prescribe are data dependent and respond to our economic realities,” he said.