Pretoria, 22 March 2022. The fourth South African Investment Conference (SAIC), to be held on the 24th of March at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, aims to build on the successes of the first three such conferences. As the country has evolved because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will have a hybrid format with the main event being held in person and the plenary sessions livestreamed for an online audience.
A fifth conference will be held next year, with the same objective: showcasing the investment opportunities available in South Africa with the aim of growing the economy which has been badly battered by the pandemic and the resultant worldwide economic slowdown, likely to worsen as a result of global geo-political uncertainties.
International and local investors are set to attend. It is part of the commitment made in 2018 by pres. Cyril Ramaphosa of raising R1.3 billion in five years.
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, the South African CEO of Naspers, a global internet group and one of the seven main sponsors, welcomed what she saw as the business-friendly tone of the investment conference. “In order to fully drive confidence, it is critical that business leaders and policymakers work together to create a consistent policy environment that encourages investment and supports local innovation, where South African tech companies and talent can thrive,” she said.
Support also came from another sponsor, Vodacom. CEO Shameel Joosub said the company is supportive of government’s drive to bridging the significant digital divides which is key for the masses who live in rural parts of the country so they can be part of the digital economy and reap the associated economic benefits.
The latter is in line with a key priority of the government and an objective of the investment conference – tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Part of the focus at the investment conference will be mining. The government is finalising its mining exploration strategy to better attract investors and encourage those who are already operating in this field. The CEO of mining giant Anglo-American, Mark Cutifani, points out that mining is a critical driver of economic growth, transformation and development across many communities in South Africa.
Anglo is also a sponsor of the conference.
“South Africans across the public and private sectors who are invested in mining through their savings, pension schemes, and other investment mechanisms. This is why I am passionate about the contribution we make as an industry, and the necessity to continue transforming ourselves for the benefit of all South Africans,” said Cutifani, pointing out that Anglo is one of the biggest investors in South Africa.
One of the main aims of the investment conference is to drive job creation across all public and private sectors. This is the outspoken intent, too, of the largest black-empowered resource company, Exxaro. Its CEO designate, Dr Nombasa Tsengwa, stresses that the company’s is fully aware that “our prosperity as a country is linked to our continent; we cannot thrive alone.”
As the objectives of the investment conference and that of Exxaro are aligned, it made perfect sense to come aboard as a sponsor.
Building economic and social infrastructure is the broad background against which the investment conference takes place. An essential part of the building blocks of this approach is a comprehensive social compact between government, business, labour and communities.
This can be seen through sponsors of the conference such as SAB – the major brewery company. It CEO, Richard Rivett-Carnac, says: “We are committed to creating sustainable investments and driving real, tangible growth for the economy. South Africa has been the home for SAB for centuries, tracing all the way back to Charles Glass and the Castle Brewery that he started in 1888.”
The final word goes to Wilson Liu, CEO of Huawei South Africa: “As a proud sponsor of the 4th annual South African Investment Conference, Huawei continues to pledge support and commitment to the country’s, as well as President Ramaphosa’s, dedication to the advancement of its electronics and ICT sectors and the 4IR through innovative and revolutionary technology.”
The seventh and final sponsor of the SAIC is Discovery, a shared value insurance company whose purpose and ambition are achieved through a pioneering business model that incentivises people to be healthier, and enhances and protects their lives, whose CEO, Adrian Gore, has said repeatedly that South Africa is larger and more relevant than we think.
This will be proven again on Thursday.
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