President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the inaugural SA Investment Conference. PHOTO: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's inaugural investment conference meant to garner financial support and revive the economy garnered nearly R290 billion in real investments, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

"These are real investments that are going to be made, not just pledges," Ramaphosa told some 1 300 local and international delegates. 

"We are hugely overwhelmed by the interest that so many of you as business leaders … have demonstrated."

The money will go towards Ramaphosa's goal to raise US$100 billion or R1.2 trillion in investments over the next five years.

"Today marks an important milestone along our journey of establishing South Africa as an investment destination of choice," the president said.

"This is the type of flood that we need to lift many boats in South Africa. This conference has been more than worth it," he said, noting that Friday's commitments were in addition to over R400 billion worth of pledges received over the last six months which he said his government would follow up.

Among companies to commit funds, mining giant Anglo American announced that it would invest R71.5 billion into the South African economy over five years through extending the lives of its operations.

Rwanda-based technology company Mara Corporation said it was investing $100 million in South Africa to make affordable, high tech smartphones.

 Pharmaceutical group Aspen Pharmacare committed an additional R3.4 billion to manufacture sterile anaesthetics at its Port Elizabeth manufacturing site, making this the country's single biggest pharmaceutical investment.

Japan-based global tire and rubber company Sumitomo Rubber said it would plough in R970 million, creating 325 permanent employment opportunities.

Other companies who committed to bringing in money included the South African National Roads Agency, which said it would spend R9.5 billion in a project in the Eastern Cape province, creating 8,000 permanent job opportunities and between 16,000 and 20,000 indirect jobs.

Fast food company McDonald’s confirmed a R3 billion investment, with 7,000 job opportunities, while family, personal and household care products maker Procter & Gamble said it would inject R300 million, food and drink company Nestle announced a R663 million investment and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa committed to R40 billion over the next five years, with a focus on creating jobs.

Ramaphosa singled out an investment announced by online retail giant Amazon as a good illustration of how South Africa was building the economy of the future and seizing on the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"By establishing a cloud computing hub in South Africa, the company will enable businesses in the region to build products and solutions that are based on new digital technologies," he said.

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African News Agency (ANA)