President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured potential investors that South Africa is working hard to provide a conducive environment for investors.
“Government is working with urgency to guide the economy towards a more sustainable growth trajectory and to restore South Africa to investment grade status at all credit rating agencies,” said the President.
He was speaking at a business seminar on opportunities in South Africa, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York.
The President also engaged in a roundtable discussion hosted by American businessman, Michael Bloomberg, on investment opportunities in South Africa.
Addressing investors, the President told delegates that South Africa, in a bid to revive its economy, made new investments into the economy a central priority for government. To achieve this, President Ramaphosa outlined government’s ambitious investment drive to raise $100 billion in new investment over five years.
“An important milestone in this initiative is an Investment Conference to be held in Johannesburg on 26 October.
“The Investment Conference, which will involve domestic and international investors, provides a platform for would-be investors to seek out opportunities in the South African market,” said the President.
Reflecting on investment relations with the United States, he highlighted that South Africa is the second largest destination of US investments in Sub-Saharan Africa after Mauritius.
Total bilateral investment, comprising Foreign Direct Investment, portfolio and other investments, stood at approximately R2.2 trillion in 2016.
Investments by US companies into South Africa accounted for about 22% of total inward investments from the world.
There are over 800 US companies doing business in South Africa, accounting for 10% of Gross Domestic Product and employing over 220 000 people.
“It is our intention, through this investment drive, to substantially expand the presence of US companies in South Africa.
“Among other things, this requires that we improve the investment environment in the country and that we take decisive measures to address the key structural challenges in our economy,” said President Ramaphosa.
As part of improving South Africa’s investment service to investors, the President highlighted that government established Invest SA to focus on investment promotion and facilitation.
Invest SA brings together key government departments in a single location to provide specialist advisory services, fast track investment projects and reduce regulatory burdens for investors.
President Ramaphosa also reiterated measures announced as part of government’s stimulus package to reignite the economy.
These include; reprioritisation of public spending to support job creation, the establishment of an Infrastructure Fund, addressing urgent and pressing matters in education and health and investing in municipal social infrastructure improvement.
On mining, President Ramaphosa told investors that government has finalised a new Mining Charter in consultation with the mining industry, labour, affected communities and other stakeholders.
“This provides clarity on how we will balance the imperatives of growth, sustainability and transformation,” he said.
Speaking on land, President Ramaphosa assured delegates that land reform will be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution, enhances agricultural production and food security and promotes economic development.
“For generations, black South Africans were denied opportunities to own assets, establish businesses, acquire skills and enter professions.
“Nowhere was this more apparent than in the patterns of ownership and usage of land. The extreme concentration of ownership of land is one of the great impediments to the full realisation of our country’s potential,” said the President.
The official programme for the UN General Assembly, which has seen world issues come under the spotlight, will wrap up today.