Every Rand that is invested in our economy by local and international investors helps create new jobs, expands the local market and boosts economic activity. It sets in motion a new wave of growth that filters across our economy.
A growing economy provides us with the means to drive back the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. It is therefore in the interest of every South African to make our country the destination of choice for investors.
To attract more investments, government is convening the second South Africa Investment Conference from 5 to 7 November this year at the Sandton Convention Centre. It builds on the success of the inaugural conference that was held last year and sends a clear message that South Africa is open for business.
Moreover, the conference allows potential investors to directly engage with government and business representatives on new investment opportunities. It is also an opportunity to share progress on our work around the ease of doing business in the country.
The first South Africa Investment Conference was attended by investors in mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, financial services, energy, ICT and water. It received investment commitments of nearly R290 billion in addition to the pledges of over R400 billion.
The inaugural conference also kicked off a significant work programme for our country’s investment institutions such as Invest SA as well as all government departments and entities.
The second conference is anchored in wave of renewal and positive change that is taking place in our nation. We have therefore made a call to international and domestic investors to join in our new momentum.
In our drive to attract R1.2 trillion in investment over five years we have laid the foundation for more investment into the digital and telecoms sectors by issuing a policy directive for the release of high demand spectrum.
We have introduced measures to reduce the financial costs of doing business which includes lower port and rail tariffs. There is policy certainty with the finalisation of the Mining Charter and the draft Oil and Gas Bill which will guide the development in this new sector.
Importantly, a process is underway to finalise a critical skills list to attract highly skilled professionals who will help us grow South Africa. To attract more tourists government has recently issued a list of countries that will receive visa waivers.
Government has also set aside R100 billion over 10 years for a National Infrastructure Fund and will be working with private investors and international financial institutions to leverage further finance for infrastructure.
There is immense investment potential in economic infrastructure like energy plants, transportation, telecoms and fibre optics. We are also upgrading roads, schools, dams, hospitals, clinics and human settlements which are key to social upliftment and job creation.
Through our Public-Private Growth Initiative we have developed investment projects in over 19 sectors. All of these measures to grow our economy are underpinned by our firm commitment to fiscal prudence, stabilising public finances and to managing the national debt-to-GDP ratio.
Moreover, the new macro organisation of government will assist in reducing the cost of government. It will enable us to review and where necessary dispense with government entities and programmes that have proven to be unviable or not cost-effective.
In growing our economy we understand that our destiny is intrinsically linked to that of the rest of the Continent. We are already working with a number of African countries to grow business, trade and investment.
South Africa is one of the countries that has ratified African Free Trade Agreement and is expected to benefit from this agreement. AfCFTA has the potential to act as a catalyst to South African economic growth and will benefit investors in our economy.
Government is committed to creating a stable, vibrant and investor friendly environment for investment to flourish. We are supporting companies that want to take advantage of our many lucrative opportunities through various incentives.
Investors are supported through our Invest SA: One Stop Shop where trained specialists assist investors with applications, from permits in water or electricity services, tax matters and licencing. An investor will simply make an appointment and explain the services they require to start their business.
In removing barriers to start and operate a business, government is confident that it will enhance the business environment and develop a sustainable and competitive economy.
South Africa is open for investment and is ready to showcase our new investment prospects in an economy with vast potential. We look forward to welcoming investors from across the spectrum to our second South Africa Investment Conference.