JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a strong team to the World Economic Forum's 2019 meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as South Africa aims to ramp up international investment.
In a statement, marketing and co-ordinating agency Brand SA described the WEF summit as the "world’s most important meeting of global CEOs".
"The primary objective of the South African delegation will be to strengthen partnerships and collaboration for inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa, with particular emphasis on increasing international investment into the country," the statement added.
Ramaphosa addressed a pre-WEF breakfast in Rosebank on Wednesday and said WEF would allow South Africa to build on the success of the President’s Investment Conference in October last year where R290 billion was raised for future investments.
Addressing Team SA, comprising government ministers and business leaders who will be accompanying him, Ramaphosa said: "We are going to Davos to interact with potential investors. We are competing with other emerging markets where there is an oasis of investment opportunities for global investors and it's where we want to be seen to be investing.
"We have a place of pride at Davos. We are recognised and accepted as being serious players. Some of our countrymen and women even play a role in the structures of WEF in Davos and we are going to speak with one language and the same message: South Africa is like a plane that is getting ready to take off."
One of the focus areas for the team will be to showcase South Africa’s preparedness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with this year's WEF theme - Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
"We are on the right track. We had to deal with very difficult challenges in the past but those are challenges we are finding solutions to. We must put our best foot forward, we must go and engage the world with great confidence knowing we are representing this great country. We are going to start seeing improved growth in our economy and I think we can go with our heads held high, without arrogance, to tell our story, what we have done and how we have made progress."
Ramaphosa and key members of the delegation will participate in a WEF Country Strategy Dialogue on South Africa on Wednesday January 23. This dialogue will focus on deepening understanding of current investment opportunities and challenges, as well as exploring new avenues to help enable the country to achieve the President’s investment target of $100 billion in the next five years. The session will be attended by investors, leading business leaders and experts.
"We have turned the corner, it's a new Dawn. We can confidently go back and say, remember what we told you, this is what we have done. As I often say, we are like a plane about to take off."
A year ago, Ramaphosa attended WEF 2018 as deputy president of the country but having taken over as African National Congress party president from Jacob Zuma only weeks before. That summit took place amid growing calls for Ramaphosa and the ruling ANC to deal decisively with Zuma who was seen as a major impediment to investment and growth due to myriad corruption and state capture scandals. It would take until Valentine's Day before Zuma exited as head of state, allowing Ramaphosa to take the reins of both party and state.
Ramaphosa will be accompanied to Davos by Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi.
In Davos, Brand South Africa, together with ABSA and Invest SA, will host a South Africa Investment Seminar with a goal to support and initiate the next phase of the country’s investment drive. Potential investors will have the opportunity to hear from and engage with South African government and business representatives.
Team South Africa will also entertain guests at a Brand South Africa Night Dinner with investors and potential investors where the best of South Africa's cuisine will be showcased with Chef Benny.