The inaugural South Africa Investment Conference has secured nearly R290 billion worth of investment announcements for the country.
“This R290 billion is what we have now in our hands and these are in addition to the R400 billion which were received during the investment drive by the special envoys and from various countries during state visits which we still need to button down,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa as he thanked investors.
The President was speaking at the Investment Conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday.
The R290 billion investment brings South Africa one step closer to achieving its target of securing $100 billion in the next five years.
President Ramaphosa thanked the 1050 delegates in attendance for putting their weight and money behind the country’s vision to grow the economy and create jobs.
Investment announcements were made from companies in mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, financial services, energy, ICT and water.
Among the investments were Sanral which pledged R9.5 billion, R40 billion was committed by NAAMSA, Aspen with R3.4 billion, Vodacom R50 billion, Acwa power R9.6 billion and R29 billion from the New Development Bank.
But the proof is in the pudding, said President Ramaphosa, who told the conference that government would track the impact of the investments and their ability to maximise on job creation.
Thanking investors at the closing of day two of the conference, he said gatherings such as this have changed the tide in the country.
“Through these various conferences, the gulf and the distance that has been there between business and government, and business and labour is reducing. It is through these engagements that we have been able to talk frankly and discuss solutions openly,” he said.
Clearing the path for more investment
In a bid to further draw investments, delegates at the conference entered into breakaway sessions where a total of R10 billion was raised collectively.
During the breakaway session on energy, R1 billion worth of investment in LPG gas pledged by Bidvest.
Delegates not only pledged more money at the sessions but also looked for possible solutions to bureaucratic challenges that might stifle investors.
During the plenary session on agriculture, funding for emerging farmers was noted as critical to ensure growth in the sector. The session also engaged on the need for transformation in the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
With regards to land reform, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said that the plenary session had stressed that land reform must be undertaken in a manner that does not affect food production.
The need for collaboration between the Agriculture and Water and Sanitation Departments in an effort to assist farmers with access to water was also raised. Delegates lamented the time it takes to secure water use authorisation.
Giving feedback on the plenary session on tourism and film, Minister Derek Hanekom said while delegates agreed that tourism and the film industry have massive investment potential, the challenge of how to translate this potential into numbers remains.
The plenary session gave the thumbs up to the introduction of an online application system and announcement of visa waivers with countries like Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Cuba and Iran, as they will boost tourism.
The revision of the unabridged birth certificate policy by Home Affairs – that now exempts foreign nationals from presenting documentation – was also welcomed as a step in the right direction.
In concluding day two of the three-day Investment Conference, President Ramaphosa told delegates that government is in talks to make the conference an annual event.
Day three of the Investment Conference will see the President take to Vilakazi Street, Soweto to showcase some of the opportunities presented by the local township economy. –Courtesy SAnews.gov.za