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South Africa Investment Conference Bags $7 Billion In Commitments

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he delivers the opening address during the 3rd South Africa Investment Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Sandton, South Africa, November 18, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The third South Africa Investment Conference was held on November 17-18in Johannesburg, bringing together powerhouses from public and private sector entities to discuss issues around the South African economy and drum up investment for the country.  

In the past two years, R660 billion ($42.5 billion) has been raised by this conference and this year’s investment drive raised R109.6 billion ($7 billion).  

The panels held over two days addressed participants both digitally and in person. 

A total of nine discussions took place and each delved into a pertinent issue related to rebuilding the economy. The Director-General of the BRICS’ New Development Bank, Monale Ratsoma, announced that the bank would be investing $2 billion towards the development of South Africa’s infrastructure. Ratsoma was firm on the involvement of the government in ensuring regulatory compliance.  

Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Chief Executive of Infrastructure South Africa, echoed Ratsoma’s sentiments, further emphasizing the need for the implementation of government strategy and action over policy development and discussions around this. Ramokgopa also highlighted the need for government to take actionable steps towards implementation instead of only theorizing the possibilities through the use of policy and regulations.  

“We [the government] are very big on talk and policy articulation and there is very little attention on application and delivery,” said Ramokgopa. He said a step towards this would be collaboration with the private sector and reformation of structural procedures.  

The message from day one was intertwined into the conversations on day two as Ramaphosa also outlined the need for “walking the walk over talking the talk”. The need for the localization of production was highlighted.  

Ramaphosa also outlined the recovery plan which was going to deal with the reformation of the economic structure and stream-lining of industrial processes. Investors into the economy such as Amazon web services and Naspers outlined what their investments have provided to South Africa so far. 

“In responding to the coronavirus emergency, South Africa has demonstrated its capacity for innovation, collaboration, and versatility,” said Ramaphosa in his opening speech on the second day. 

As the conference drew to a close, the evidence of its effectiveness or shortcomings will only be revealed in the coming months as the economy continues to tackle the challenges presented by Covid-19. 

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