Closing Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South Africa Investment Conference


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As this inaugural South Africa Investment Conference draws to a close, I wish to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to all of you for having participated with such interest and enthusiasm in this landmark event.

Allow me also to acknowledge the presence of the co- founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, Mr Jack Ma, who will be giving the keynote address at the Business Dinner this evening.

Welcome once again to South Africa and thank you for joining us.

We have witnessed today the beginning of a new narrative on investment in South Africa.

Throughout the day, we have heard how business continues to reap sustainable rewards in the South African economy.

The case studies that have been presented affirm that South Africa is a diversified economy that presents great opportunities across a wide range of sectors.

We heard investment announcements from companies in mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, financial services, energy, ICT and water.

Prominent among these announcements are the themes of value addition, beneficiation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The investment announced today by Amazon, for example, is a good illustration of how we are building the economy of the future and seizing on the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By establishing a cloud computing hub in South Africa, the company will enable businesses in the region to build products and solutions that are based on new digital technologies.

The investment announced by Vedanta reinforces our drive towards greater beneficiation, the investment by Mara highlights the opportunities for pan-African collaboration, and the Aspen announcement underscores South Africa’s capabilities for producing products for the export market.

These are just some examples of the investments that have been announced today – investments that are cumulatively worth nearly R290 billion.

As we indicated earlier today, these investments are in addition to pledges of over R400 billion that we have received from several governments over the last 6 months.

We have already begun to put in the effort to turn pledges into firm commitments, and commitments into projects on the ground.

We are working to ensure that we resolve whatever blockages that may stand in the way of the roll-out of these investments; acting within the context of our policies and laws,

We have also published a portfolio of projects, mostly proposed by the private sector, that require financing.

The project book is a live, dynamic portfolio that will be updated as new projects emerge, or when some projects make their way from ideas; to bankable prospects; to funding and implementation.

As a country, we will continue to play to our strengths, and build on the comparative advantage we have in sectors such as mining, tourism and agriculture.

At the same time, we are working to nurture the talent and harness the energy of our youth.

This conference kicks off a significant work programme for our investment mobilisation institutions, particularly Invest SA.

But all government departments and entities, from policing to health, have a bearing on the investment climate.

We will measure the impact of the investment that we attract, and work with business to maximise the potential for job creation and socio-economic development that flows from investment.

As a precursor to this conference, yesterday the Industrial Development Programme hosted a conference on impact investment.

This is an important area of investing that we are keen to encourage.

At the same time, we believe that all investment can be shaped and deployed in a manner that generates not only profit, but social good.

Today marks an important milestone along our journey of establishing South Africa as an investment destination of choice.

We will derive important lessons from this conference as we prepare to make it a regular feature in our annual calendar.

In this conference, we have focused on re-engaging with the business community to make our investment case.

We have reminded our local investors, and also the global community, of the compelling reasons to direct resources into this economy.

In coming to this milestone, we have also enabled government to think deeply about the impediments to investment – and to address them.

Our investment envoys have brought us tough and frank feedback.

As we track the investment pipeline and continue to build our dynamic portfolio of opportunities, we will sharpen our investment mobilisation tools.

From this, we will emerge with renewed energy and revamped institutions that will drive us towards our objective of increased investment, inclusive growth and decent jobs.

Thank you again for your attendance.

Lastly, allow me to invite all of you to join me tomorrow morning in a walk in Soweto that will end with brunch at the famous Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel peace laureates.

I look forward to seeing you there.

I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency