(180123) -- DAVOS, Jan. 23, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the World Economic Forum (WEF), delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the WEP annual meeting at Congress Center in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2018. Heads of state called for 2018 to be the year of collaboration and multilateralism to address major global challenges like climate change, terrorism and protectionism, as the World Economic Forum (WEP) opened in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)(rh)
JOHANNESBURG - The South African delegation led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in good spirits in Davos, Switzerland, for the 48th World Economic Forum that started on Monday.

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel is one of the prominent ministers in Davos this year.

Eyes are on South Africa, with investors flocking to meet with Patel, enquiring about “the state of the SA economy,” but Patel is confident.

“South Africa is competing with major countries in Davos, but I am proud to say that we are geared, passionate and excited to convince global investors that South Africa is open for business.

“I will focus on the I’s during my discussions with investors,” Patel said. “South Africa needs direct fixed investments, meaning investors that partner with us for the long term.”

Patel’s I’s are focused on investments in infrastructure, (energy, urban rail and water), industrialisation (modernising the manufacturing sector), integration (connecting African economies), innovation (artificial intelligence), inclusion (youth and entrepreneurship) and, most importantly, integrity (government and business).

“Corruption is not a victimless crime,” said Patel, adding that the government aimed to fight corruption on all levels.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

He said his delegation would convey this message to investors looking for opportunities, companies such as Sinopec, the Chinese oil company that has offered to buy Chevron’s South African assets.

“The Chinese invested R11billion in South Africa, and another R6bn to modernise (the Cape Town refinery). Investors will only invest such an amount if they’re convinced that South Africa has a long-term sustainable future.” Patel ended his interview in bitter cold Davos with a bright look in his eyes.

“You know,” he said, “all that we actually need, is a ‘we can do’ spirit. Like in 1994 and 1996, when very few global investors believed South Africa could. We proved them wrong, and we shall do so again. South Africa is back, and open for business.”

- BUSINESS REPORT