South Africa: WEFA Opportunity for Economic Growth Engagement

President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa breakfast in Cape Town on September 4, 2019. The breakfast was hosted by Brand South Africa.
2 September 2019

This week's World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) is an opportunity for government leaders to engage on the state of global, African and South African economies, says Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

WEFA will take place in Cape Town from Wednesday until Friday, this week, under the theme of 'shaping inclusive growth and shared futures in the fourth industrial revolution'.

"It is not a conference where we take resolutions; it's not a consultative meeting," he said.

"It is not a place to engage in ideological positions but a forum to exchange ideas on the state of global economy, the state of the African economy, the state of the South African economy. Finally, it's a stage [for discussions] of the state of play in business dealings - who wants to make business dealings with who."

WEFA says Sub-Saharan Africa's future prosperity hinges on the ability of its leaders to create inclusive, sustainable growth at a time of rapid transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The gathering is expected to see 1 100 leaders from government, business and civil society, including ten Heads of state or Government converge over the three days.

The meeting is expected to highlight on:

  • improving the funding and regulatory environments for start-ups;
  • developing new partnerships for re-skilling and upskilling workers;
  • identifying opportunities for green growth such as the circular economy; scaling-up e-commerce for rapid business growth, especially in the SME sector; and
  • how to leverage the new Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to drive regional integration.

Mboweni said the signing of the AfCFTA was very important.

"South Africa stands to benefit far more from the AfCFTA. We stand to gain tremendously from this because of our industrial base. The largest industrial park in Africa is in Ekurhuleni and it is going to benefit out of this," he said.

Elsie Kanza, head of WEFA, said the organisation believed that governments need to actively intervene in the functioning of markets to ensure that positive investments are incentivised and to discourage market functions that do not benefit the long term health of economies and societies.

"Our message is loud and clear: we are all in this together. Neither governments, businesses nor civil society are capable of solving the chronic challenges we face alone or independently.

"On the international stage, we need to work together to solve climate change and cyber-crime otherwise our efforts will be doomed to failure in a world that is increasingly disrupted by a volatile geo-political environment, finding common ground, hence this multi-stakeholder engagement," she said.

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