South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA)

Investors must be sensitive to state of Africa – Ramaphosa

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Nov 15, 2021

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on investors to be sensitive to the state of the African continent, particularly regarding its development goals and capacity for growth.

He was speaking at the 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair which kicked off in Durban on Monday.

With a full-house packed with African heads of state and business leaders from across the continent, Ramaphosa said South Africa was ready to work with African countries to forge more balanced, equitable and fair trade relations within the continent.

It was vital that the IATF paid special attention to African women in business, and identified their potential as drivers of economic change, he said.

The fair is likely to attract around 10 000 attendees from across Africa with $40 billion (R610bn) of trade and investment deals set to be concluded at the event, according to the IATF.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente and Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi were all in attendance.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel and KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala both delivered remarks at the event.

“Trade is built on a bedrock of investment. We must therefore find ways of attracting more investment into our economies, and, crucially, we must encourage African businesses to invest in each other’s countries,” said Ramaphosa.

“This requires that we improve the ease of doing business in our countries and provide protection for investors through strong and independent legal systems that will ensure the sanctity of contract and fair and expeditious legal processes.

“It also means that investors must be sensitive to our continent’s development goals: jobs, industrialisation and development of local entrepreneurs.

“The conditions of Africa’s workers must improve as part of our development goals and the decent work agenda that all of us have committed to must find expression in our trade, investment and industrial frameworks,” said Ramaphosa.

Last week, the President told investors and business forums at a District Development Model dialogue in KZN’s Ugu District that he would remove bureaucratic barriers that often turn potential investors away and instead roll out a red carpet for them.

Ramaphosa’s remarks came against the backdrop of the local government elections, where the ANC had lost support in many municipalities across the country, including eThekwini.

Prior to the elections, the province and city was up in flames, as the civil unrest which allegedly started over infighting within the ANC, severely damaged the province’s GDP and claimed more than 300 lives in the process.

Despite Ramaphosa admitting that the government failed to quickly enough prevent the economic and human massacre, Zikalala has said on many occasions that the province is “open for business”.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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