Next week about 1 000 investors will attend President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Investment Summit where they will interact directly with regulators and cabinet ministers in an effort to unlock large amounts of money to get the South African economy going.

According to economic development minister Ebrahim Patel, who briefed the media in Pretoria on Thursday about the upcoming event, business people will make a number of announcements during the event about significant investments and commitments for further investments.

Patel says a third of the delegates are foreigners from at least 25 different countries.

He says the event, which starts the day after finance minister Tito Mboweni’s medium-term budget policy statement on Wednesday, October 24 and will conclude on Saturday, will consist of a series of working sessions. It will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre.

There will be two plenary sessions addressed by Ramaphosa and 20 different activities where attendees will work out what must be done to unlock investment. He said 50 experts will be speaking and leading the discussions.

Chinese business magnate, investor and philanthropist Jack Ma will give the keynote address at the gala dinner on Friday night.

Patel says Ramaphosa will deal with the land issue during the summit and explain the processes and timelines to investors. He adds that South Africans, as well as the investment community, needs finality on the matter, and the government wants the investment community’s support in dealing with it.

Government will also ensure that providers of infrastructure like Transnet and Eskom will be present to hear what obstacles they should address directly from decision makers in business (CEOs and board chairpersons).

Patel says the summit will focus on agriculture and agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation, manufacturing, transport infrastructure, water infrastructure, tourism, and creative industries, information and communication technologies (ICT) and venture capital and entrepreneurship.

He says the larger JSE-listed companies that have registered for the summit represent a market capitalisation of R6.5 trillion and virtually the entire South African fund management community, representing R7.7 trillion in assets under management, will also be present.

As to the international presence, 27 Fortune 500 companies with a combined market capitalisation of $4 trillion have confirmed their attendance, and three of China’s top four banks will also be present. Patel says they will have the opportunity to interact directly with cabinet ministers.

Multinational companies that will attend include Airbus, Huawei, Nestlé, General Electric, Siemens, Mitsubishi, and Johnson & Johnson.

Patel says there are at least 40 large national investment conferences every year around the globe and South Africa will now enter this competitive environment by showcasing the opportunities it offers, including its ability to act as a springboard into Africa.

He says the idea is to drill down to practical matters that are stumbling blocks to investment and to find ways to remove them.

He says government wants to reposition itself by improving the efficiency and speed of economic service delivery.

The summit has focused government’s attention on getting things done.

Patel says he often marvels at the way the World Economic Forum in Davos always offers the easiest opportunities “to get to people you need to meet” and says this summit will do the same for South Africa and business people interested in investment in the local economy.

He emphasises that the summit is part of a comprehensive drive to improve economic growth that started with Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address in February. The drive includes many engagements he has had with business people in South Africa and abroad, as well as the recent Jobs Summit.

Progress will be closely monitored after the summit, and according to Patel, government is currently considering an active web-based report-back system.


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