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5 goals of Ramaphosa's second investment conference

SA's second investment conference is set to be held from November 5 – 7 in Sandton, Johannesburg, with over 1030 confirmed delegates attending.

The drive, launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is meant to attract R1.2trn in new investments by 2023. The first conference attracted R300bn in investment commitments.

Speaking at a briefing ahead of the conference, presidential economic adviser Trudi Makhaya and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel unpacked some of the plans for this year's drive on Tuesday.  

Lead sponsor Anglo American, as well as official sponsors Naspers and Vodacom, each had representatives present at the briefing.

Here's what this year's conference aims to achieve.  

1. Provide an opportunity for government and business to have dialogue on the investment climate.

"We expect half of Cabinet to be present," said Patel.

Cabinet ministers will engage with investors on some of the key performance areas listed by Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address. Engagements will be held during bilateral meetings and breakaway sessions.

This year's conference will include members of Cabinet and SA Inc., putting forward to local and foreign investors the country's value proposition as an investment destination, according to Makhaya.

Apart from the formal engagements such as plenaries focusing on the risk and opportunities of investing in SA, there will also be a cocktail event allowing delegates to interact with each other and a dinner where investors can engage with Ramaphosa, she said.

2. It is an opportunity for SA Inc. to engage with the global investor community.

It is expected that more than a quarter of conference attendees will be foreign investors or their representatives, said Patel.

Local businesses, regulators and government representatives will be able to tell a South African story, and share with the global investment community the opportunities arising from the African free trade plan, he added.

In addition, this year, the final day of the conference will be held at the University of Johannesburg campus in Soweto, where the focus will be on entrepreneurship and emerging businesses.

3. It is an opportunity to provide delegates and the country to give feedback on the implementation of commitments made last year.

At the conference, progress of some projects will be highlighted.

Patel noted that SA had in the past year seen the introduction of a policy on the roll-out of spectrum, the gazetting of the Integrated Resources Plan, providing certainty on the energy roadmap, as well as a new e-visa regime, set to be launched soon.

He also noted the appointment of new National Prosecuting Authority head Shamila Batohi and SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

4. It is an opportunity for investors to make new announcements and pledges on investment plans for the next five years.

The conference is an opportunity for the country to see what is in the "investment pipeline", Patel said.

5. The event will also highlight interventions to improve the investment climate and partnerships that may unfold.

These partnerships include the relaunch of the SA-US business council, as well as the launch of the Japan-SA business council, which came about following Ramaphosa's recent visit to Japan, Patel said.

"We need an ongoing forum to facilitate deeper Japanese investment in the economy," he said, adding""Japan is a significant exporter of capital and a country with cutting edge technology."


Lameez Omarjee

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