/ 5 April 2023

South Africa Investment Conference


Unlocking Potential for sustainable and Inclusive Growth


R1.2 trillion

President Cyril Ramaphosa committed government to raise R1.2 trillion worth of investments into the economy over a five-year period.

R1.14 trillion

After four cycles of the SAIC, this is the value of investment pledges made thus far.


Number of investment pledges made since inception of SAIC.


Number of projects that are either finalised or under construction.

To contextualise this, a total of R450.3bn (39.5%) out of the committed investment pledges has already been spent on projects. Some projects have stalled due to a challenging economic environment, including the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, speaking at last year’s investment conference at Sandton Convention Centre.

IDC affirms commitment to investment mobilisation drive

After four cycles, President Ramaphosa’s investment mobilisation drive has so far attracted R1.1 trillion worth of investment pledges. The ambitious target that the government set in 2018 to mobilise R1.2 trillion worth of investments over five years is now within sight.  

Without pre-empting the outcome of the 5th South African Investment Conference (SAIC), the last installment of the conference scheduled for 13 April will likely be a success. Raising this quantum of investment in an economic environment that is burdened by challenges such as slow growth, a precarious energy supply and a lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is laudable. 

Success signifies an endorsement of optimism in the country’s growth prospects by the investment community. The fact that the government had the foresight to embark on an investment mobilisation drive in such a challenging economic environment is even more commendable.  This was amid strong economic headwinds, yet the government, business and civil society joined hands to see this programme succeed. Need we be reminded, ours is a country replete with moments of great triumph amid adversity. 

At the core of the IDC’s role is a deep-seated commitment to sustaining industrial capacity and intentionally dealing with the stubborn trifecta of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Since the launch of SAIC five years ago, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has been a key partner. In collaboration with the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (dtic), its key stakeholder, the Corporation has not only provided a secretariat to SAIC but has leveraged its institutional infrastructure to drive the success of the programme and the event. Our hallmark has always been a measurable contribution to strengthening industrial capacity through tailored financing and therefore the Conference aligns with our mandate as a development finance institution. 

To this end, the conclusion of this investment mobilisation cycle provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our role, challenges and achievements over the years. IDC’s cumulative pledges to SAIC in the last four years tally to R21 billion, during which we invested in, among other projects, the ACWA Power and Redstone solar thermal plant. IDC provided funding to Pele Green Energy — a black-owned IPP, Bowwood and Main Community Trust on a 50/50 partnership with ACWA, which is a Saudi-based renewable energy operator. 

UNICA Iron and Steel; Phama Q; Bushveld Electrolyte Company; Bushveld Energy Company; Bushveld Vametco Hybrid Mini Grid Co Dalisu Holdings; Scatec and VM Automotive — a black-owned auto original equipment manufacturer account for part of this funding. Each one of these investments represent economic development, economic growth and the facilitation of job opportunities. 

Evolving for relevance in challenging times

Over the years, the country’s priorities have evolved, and radically so. But it’s been the Corporation’s agility to successfully respond to varied socio-economic crises that best illustrates the significance of the Corporation. Our response to the social unrest which characterised parts of the country in July 2021 in which businesses were looted and the flooding in KZN, Eastern Cape and other parts of the country is notable. The outbreak of Covid-19 raised similar challenges, prompting the IDC to devise a range of interventions aimed at alleviating the economic impact: an essential supplies intervention, a distress fund, and the small business industrial distress fund, all of which provided capital to businesses that manufacture essential medical supplies/consumables.

‘SAIC is critical to achieving SA’s growth prospects’

The big test for the Corporation in this era remains that it continues to ensure delivery on its core developmental mandate: drive meaningful transformation, help create new industries and prevent de-industrialisation. As the entity mandated by government to drive the commercialisation of the local green hydrogen economy, IDC is using its expertise in industry planning and project development to help unlock the potential of the local green economy. A key attribute of the IDC — evident in its mandate and objective to develop South Africa’s renewable industry — is its capacity to de-risk new industries. Our exposure to renewable energy generation has grown to R15.8 billion. 

To date, our investments in renewable energy, notably in Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme Rounds 1 and 2, have helped to add 900MW of power to the national grid. In the process, this created about 8 000 jobs spread across the Northern Cape, Western Cape, North West and Eastern Cape. The Northern Cape, with excellent renewable energy resources, is the biggest beneficiary of IDC’s investment, with a combined capacity of 486MW and R2.5 billion in the combined purchase price for community shareholding in 15 projects.

Role in averting deindustrialisation

Investments in projects such as Veneer Steel — notwithstanding its recent operational challenges, Pilanesberg Mining Company,, and the over R22 billion BAIC project — which is the biggest automotive investment in South Africa in over 20 years, rank among the Corporation’s notable high-value investments in recent years, aimed at enhancing South Africa’s industrial capacity. This strategy speaks to growing our own industry capabilities and creating employment opportunities. 

Sedibelo Mining’s recent multi-million investment in Kell Technology, partly funded by the IDC, has secured the PGM miner’s future for decades to come, as the use of this technology will allow Sedibelo to mine its products and lower its cost profile further. This will significantly reduce Sedibelo’s carbon footprint and water usage, placing the South African PGM miner at the top of global mining companies and leading the adoption of green mining. 

Through the Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (MCEP) — an incentive co-managed with the dtic, IDC has invested about R3.1 billion since 2012. This is towards supporting existing manufacturing enterprises through interventions to improve competitiveness in manufacturing, as well as encouraging manufacturers to upgrade their production facilities. 

Our exposure extends into the rest of Africa. IDC’s portfolio in the continent is currently valued at R13.8 billion and spreads across several sectors of the economy such as metals, tourism and agriculture. Investment in Mozambique’s Mozal Aluminium plant rates as one of IDC’s flagship investments in the rest of Africa. Located in Maputo’s Beluluane industrial park, this aluminium smelting company has grown to become Mozambique’s largest employer and ranks as the single largest contributor to Mozambique’s GDP. The IDC recently increased its shareholding in Mozal on the strength of the company’s stellar growth run.

Investing against the cycle

In times of difficulty, the IDC has been a bulwark of South Africa’s investment continuity. When the economic recession took root in 2009, the Corporation demonstrated its counter-cyclical role, increasing its capital investment into the economy from R8.5bn in 2008 to R10.8bn in 2009. In all, R6.1bn of this investment went towards assisting distressed companies affected by the financial meltdown. 

In fact, over R140 billion that IDC invested into the economy over the last 14 years has been countercyclical funding, largely aimed at kick-starting stalling economic growth. Further to this, the Corporation has earmarked R80 billion for investment approvals over the next three years — a development that will significantly help to accelerate socioeconomic growth, transformation and contribute to the growing number of black Industrialists. 

For now, the focus as outlined by government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) is how the Corporation can assist in getting the economy back on a growth trajectory. For its part, the IDC has geared towards playing its role in catalysing the recovery and growth of key productive sectors of the economy. 

At the core of the IDC’s relevance remains a deep-seated commitment to sustaining industrial capacity and intentionally dealing with the stubborn trifecta of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. This mandate confers on the Corporation an enormous responsibility, as investment for development impact and financial sustainability mutually reinforce each other. The ultimate objective remains to industrialise, transform and grow the economy. 

TP Nchocho is the CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation

Vodacom makes good on its pledge – completes investment of just over R50bn in SA to ensure inclusion for all

As South Africa is gearing to host its fifth South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) on 13 April 2023, we are proud that we have lived up to our pledge to invest over R50bn over five years in SA. This investment includes the deployment of fibre and 4G and 5G networks.

It is when the nation prospers that Vodacom is able to grow and continue to play a critical role of laying network infrastructure to help connect South Africans to the digital economy. In 2018, we heeded the call from President Cyril Ramaphosa to play a central role in his investment drive aimed at attracting R1.2 trillion over five years. Looking back over the past five years, we believe that our R50 billion pledge has been significant in fostering digital inclusion for all and helped to unlock economic and social opportunities for South Africa.

Consistent investment in our world-class network is paramount and, over the past five years, our substantial investment has resulted in the expansion of our network capacity to manage additional demand for data and enhance the resilience and quality of our networks. We also invested in expanding network capacity, modernising our network and enhancing our IT platforms to support the build-out of best-in-class networks and platforms. The modernisation of our network ensured we could efficiently and effectively deploy temporary spectrum while ensuring better usage and optimal performance of our existing allocation. 

Vodacom has invested billions in expanding network capacity, modernising its network and enhancing its IT platforms to support the build-out of best-in-class networks and platforms.

We switched on Africa’s first live 5G mobile network in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town in May 2020. We have extended our 5G footprint beyond Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and now have a presence in all nine provinces. Our collective investment extended our 4G and 3G population coverage to 97.94% and 99.88%, respectively, while 2G population coverage remains steady at 99.9%.

As we accelerated our fibre rollout and increased the total number of homes and businesses connected, our own fibre passed 163 910 homes and businesses in South Africa. Critically, the proposed purchase of a joint venture stake in South African fibre company Maziv, previously InfraCo, is expected to assist in narrowing the digital divide by enabling affordable access to connectivity in some of the most vulnerable parts of the country through an ambitious fibre roll-out programme. The joint venture will house the material fibre network assets of Vodacom South Africa and CIVH and received ICASA approval in October last year, with the transaction remaining subject to the Competition Commission’s ongoing approval process.

Providing network connectivity for people who reside in rural areas is a high priority for Vodacom and part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone no matter where they live. Through our rural coverage acceleration programme, we have committed substantial investment to remove barriers so that citizens in deep rural and township areas have the same network experience as those who reside in urban areas. 

Through our rural coverage acceleration programme, we introduced new network sites in rural communities across South Africa, with 95.8% of the rural population now covered by our 4G network. We connected 232 deep rural sites and 61 rural communities previously without coverage. The number of rural network sites increased to 9 637 and now we provide connectivity for over 22 million people who live in remote areas which did not previously have network access.

Vodacom’s commitment to accelerate network coverage for people who live in deep rural areas has already yielded positive societal impact. Within months of Vodacom having deployed new 4G sites, most of these communities are now reaping the benefits of being connected. As a result, school-going kids can now access the internet for the first time and have the option of using Vodacom’s e-School, whilst those who are actively looking for jobs are using their smartphones to access jobs portals that are zero-rated for Vodacom subscribers. Those who previously had to travel long distances to do banking are doing this on their devices from the comfort of their homes. 

Fact Box of deep rural connectivity success stories:

In 2022 we switched on two new 3G and 4G enabled base station sites in deep rural areas in Kamiesberg Local Municipality, Northern Cape province. The two base stations were deployed in Kamasies and Rooifontein villages that had zero network connectivity since the early 1990s. This is significant for scores of households in those villages, ushering in a new era of digital inclusion for the people living in the area.

In September 2019, Vodacom Mpumalanga Region partnered with BPG Langfontein to create SA’s first smartphone only town. Vodacom deployed 4G sites in Wakkerstroom and later moved 1 500 farm workers from using 2G feature phones to 4G enabled smartphones. Wakkerstroom now enjoys 100% internet access for all Vodacom customers and internet activity in the area has seen data traffic grow by 205% year on year, with data active customers increasing by 82%.

In 2018 we became the only network provider to deploy base stations in Mhlabuyalingana Local Municipality to help prevent border criminal activity along the Mozambique border and connect this community. The Umhlabuyalingana project came about when in April 2017, Minister Cwele approached the local mobile networks and appealed to them to improve network coverage along the Mozambique Border. Umhlabuyalingana has a population of over 150 000.

In 2020, along the Lesotho border, communities experienced a significant decrease in stock theft after Ramatseliso and Qhatsha’s Nek was connected. Upon a SARS request, we brought coverage to these areas that immediately improved border control and brought peace of mind to surrounding communities. Various farming communities have reported improved security now having access to communications. Even wild animal tracking has improved due to wider coverage enabled by our additional coverage in rural areas.

In June 2018, Vodacom Limpopo executive team was joined by Chief Nemubvumoni Fhatuwani Alfree and scores of community members at the unveiling of a new base station site in Duvheledza village, located in the Thulamela Municipality. The move was significant for over 5000 households in Duvhuledza village, as this was the very first base station to be deployed in this village, ushering in a new era of mobile connectivity in the area. The new base station site which is 3G and 4G enabled provides coverage to nearby villages such as Mpandoni, Duvhuledza, Mubvumoni and Tshimbolimbo. These communities have a population of more than 30 000 residents. 

Vodacom’s R50 billion pledge has undoubtedly helped to create thousands of employment opportunities during the construction of new sites, empowered hundreds of small, medium and large business enterprises, bridged the digital divide and has fostered digital transformation in deep rural communities while increasing voice network, data connectivity and access to Information Technology in facilities, municipalities, government departments, schools, libraries, hospitals and clinics. Our contribution demonstrates our confidence in the country’s economy and a commitment to playing our part towards efforts of rebuilding and setting our economy on the path of recovery. 

Google’s 2020 South African Investment Conference announcement driving significant GDP growth

During the 2020 South African Investment Conference (SAIC), Google announced its investment into a high speed, subsea cable which would enable affordable internet access, and drive a significant increase in South Africa’s GDP. 

Since the announcement, Google has worked hard to bring that commitment to fruition, and earlier this year, the first services went live on the cable, putting into place the foundation for faster internet speeds, lower internet costs, job creation and GDP growth.

Google’s investment is one of 152 that have been announced since the first SAIC in 2018 across a number of industries which include technology, telecomms, and solar power, all aimed at growing the South African economy, to stimulate growth and job creation and help South Africans to thrive.

Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, was on hand to witness the landing of the Equiano cable in South Africa.

The Equiano cable, as it is now known, forms part of a $1 billion commitment Google made to Africa over a five-year period, which focused on enabling affordable internet access, helping businesses with digital transformation, investing in entrepreneurs to spur next-generation technologies and supporting nonprofit organisations working on the continent.

A regional economic impact assessment released by Africa Practice in 2022 estimates that the Equiano subsea cable, which landed in Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, and finally in South Africa in August, will result in a $7 billion increase in South Africa’s GDP, which would not have been possible without the cable.

Country director for Google South Africa, Dr Alistair Mokoena, said: “Google is committed to helping drive digital transformation in Africa and the Equiano Cable is a major part of that commitment. The cable will not only improve internet speeds and affordability, but will help to support the growth of the digital economy in Africa. In South Africa, we anticipate that it will indirectly contribute to the creation of 180 000 jobs and help increase GDP significantly.”

The undersea cable has a capacity of 144 Terabytes per second, which is 20 times the capacity of the last cable built to serve the region.

While Google invested in the Equiano undersea cable alongside a variety of partners and carriers, the tech company partnered with Openserve and Telkom to bring the South Africa landing to life. 

The capacity that Equiano offers will make connectivity more accessible and affordable, helping to bridge the digital divide in SA. Making connectivity more attainable will also allow small businesses to embrace digital innovation and fully step into the digital economy.

Small businesses contribute an estimated 52% of South Africa’s GDP, according to the National Empowerment Fund, and employ millions of South Africans. Google’s goal is to help SMMEs grow as they are the drivers of the economy, and to help South Africans thrive.

While the Equiano cable is a major investment, it is by no means the only one that Google is making in South Africa. Over the past few years, Google has also announced investments into education, small businesses and nonprofits in South Africa.

Among these are the Google Black Founders Fund, which financed five South African startups in 2022, to help them solve local challenges through innovation and applications for the 2023 cohort have recently closed.

South African mobile gaming startup Carry1st is also the first South African recipient of financing from the African Investment Fund, which launched in 2021.

“The investments and programmes that Google has implemented in South Africa are a demonstration of our long-term commitment to South Africa and to the African continent as a whole. We are therefore also extremely proud to have been part of the success of the South African Investment Conference over the past few years.”

The real work is the work with government to create a fertile investment environment

As we embark on the 5th South African Investment Conference, we still firmly believe that South Africa and the African continent as a whole offer significant investment and growth opportunities. Once again, South African Breweries (“SAB”) is proud to be part of this work to create a more sustainable and inclusive future.

What we know for sure is that the work goes beyond making large investment pledges.  The real work is the partnership with government to promote sustainable economic development and supporting initiatives that focus on creating jobs, improving infrastructure and addressing social challenges facing local communities. 

It’s also essential to prioritise social and economic inclusion to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared among all people, including those historically marginalised.

Our involvement at the conference continues our ongoing work with government to create a fertile environment that attracts investment and facilitates the growth of businesses. To sustain the momentum of the SAIC, tax laws must be stable, clear and predictable, providing businesses with a clear understanding of their tax obligations now and in the future. 

By implementing investment incentives, we build an environment that encourages businesses to invest capital, generate jobs and drive economic growth

By implementing investment incentives, we build an environment that encourages businesses to invest capital, generate jobs and drive economic growth. Investment incentives are essential for attracting and facilitating capital investments. 

We cannot talk about a sustainable business environment without addressing the crushing impact that electricity and water shortages have on our productivity. We are encouraged by and supportive of the work government is doing to address the energy and resource challenges and we will support initiatives that help to maintain the continuity of operations, prevent losses and support economic growth.

Without water and electricity we cannot manufacture beer, therefore the increased water outages due to infrastructure challenges and load-shedding affects the water supply and production at our breweries.

In 2022, an Oxford Economic Study labelled beer the hardest working beverage, calculating that the beer value chain supports 1 in 66 jobs in South Africa, contributing R1 in every R79 of the GDP. It generated R63.3 billion in revenue in 2022. 

This study also found that beer has a strong impact on various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and tourism, supporting approximately 250 000 livelihoods spanning farmers, truck drivers, retailers and entrepreneurs.

Last year, SAB announced a R920 million investment into our Prospecton and Ibhayi breweries, demonstrating our confidence in the potential of the South African market and our commitment to contributing to its economic growth. This formed part of a previously announced total investment of R4.5 billion in the country. We are pleased with the progress made at our Prospecton and Ibhayi breweries, which are key facilities in our operations. 

As we grow and lead the beer category responsibly, we are proud to make a product that is local, natural, and inclusive. At SAIC 2023, we will reiterate our belief that our investments in South Africa and across the continent will continue to generate positive returns for our shareholders, while also creating jobs and fostering sustainable development.

Boris Rivett-Carnac, South African Breweries CEO