President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 'A-team' of Ministers will showcase South Africa on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos as the meeting of 3 000 top political, business and civil society leaders kicks off.
The Ministers of International Relations, Finance, Trade, Communications, Public Enterprise, Economic Development and Health are geared up to strengthen partnerships and attract international investment into South Africa.
The WEF in Davos is a prime opportunity for top government officials to interact with potential investors, and South Africa is intent on pulling out all the stops at a time when it is competing with other emerging markets.
Minister for International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu and her cabinet colleagues are on a mission to attract investment to South Africa, part of meeting Ramaphosa’s target of attracting US$100 billion worth of investment over the next five years. On Wednesday, there will be a WEF Country Strategic Dialogue which will highlight investment opportunities in South Africa.
On Thursday, the Ministers will be able to engage with business leaders in a South Africa Investment Seminar hosted by BrandSA, Absa, and Invest SA. BrandSA will also host a dinner for investors that will showcase South African cuisine prepared by Chef Benny.
Sisulu has emphasised the importance of attendance at the WEF in Davos, which is focussed on the theme “Globalisation 4.0 - shaping a global architecture in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution.”
The issue of preparedness for the 4th Industrial Revolution is a game-changer and necessitates a quantum leap in technology, and South Africa will be looking at how to harness technology for the good of society. WEF Founder Klaus Schwab believes that Globalisation 4.0 must be more inclusive, sustainable and based on moral principles.
Sipho Pityana, as the new President of Business Unity South Africa, is attending the Davos meeting and has said, “There is a common purpose between government and business. There is greater policy certainty in key areas of the economy due to the mining charter, integrated resource plan, and progress on land reform.”
Piyana believes that the strengthened governance at the state-owned enterprises, as well as the Zondo and Nugent commissions give credibility to Ramaphosa’s New Dawn.
This year’s WEF takes place at a time when there is an unmistakable backlash against globalisation, where in many countries there is a loss of faith in national governments, multilateral institutions, and there are greater levels of protectionism, and a heightened risk of trade wars. South Africa’s foreign policy, which is firmly committed to multilateralism, continental free trade, closing the wealth gap, and addressing refugee and migrant flows humanely will work to counter these negative trends.
* Shannon Ebrahim is the Group Foreign Editor