South Africa: SA Reaches Out to Investors Ahead of Summit

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the FT Africa Summit in London, October 2019.

In preparation for the upcoming Investment Conference, President Cyril Ramaphosa will use his address at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2019, to lure investors to the country.

In his weekly newsletter, President Ramaphosa said the gathering of business people, investors and decision-makers is important for the work the country is doing to improve the lives of South Africans.

"If we are to create jobs and reduce poverty, we need to grow our economy at a much faster pace. For that, we need much more investment, from both local and international business.

"We are using every available opportunity to reach out to investors to talk about the great business potential both in South Africa and across the African continent," said the President.

To attract the much needed investment, President Ramaphosa said South Africa needs to make it easier to do business.

"In a competitive global environment, investors are looking for countries that can provide stable and sustained returns, while minimising risks and cost," he said.

In its 2019 Global Competitiveness report released last week, the World Economic Forum showed that South Africa has improved its ranking, climbing seven places since the previous year.

"This is a noteworthy achievement within a relatively short period of time," said the President.

The report is an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth in 141 economies.

It ranks the respective economies on the strength of their institutions, infrastructure, adoption of information technology, financial systems, macroeconomic stability and business dynamism.

Next month, South Africa will host the second South Africa Investment Conference as part of its drive to attract R1.2 trillion in new investment over five years.

Last year, the inaugural conference raised around R300 billion in committed investments.

While the country aims to attract foreign direct investment, it seeks to cultivate a new crop of home-grown companies.

"The most effective way to reduce poverty and create economic opportunities for South Africans living in townships and rural areas is by enabling them to start up and grow their own businesses.

"While many entrepreneurs struggle to mobilise capital and access markets, they also find it difficult and costly to meet the regulatory requirements for starting and running a business," said President Ramaphosa.

Key to this will be the introduction of a common application from across the country's development funding institutions.

"We are working to make business easier for both the person starting out in their garage and for the multinational looking to open a new factory.

"We are making it easier to start a business, register a property, deal with construction permits, pay taxes and trade across borders. To promote greater efficiency, we are reducing the time it takes to grant licenses and permits," said the President.

Government, working together with business, is also working to ensure that the conditions attached to licenses, are not too onerous or costly. Immigration reform is also being prioritised to attract more skilled workers and to grow tourism.

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