Speaking on the second day of the Africa Investment Forum on Thursday, which is taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Gauteng Premier David Makhura expressed his faith in where the country is headed under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“South Africa is blessed to be led by someone who understands how business works and how workers think; someone who understands how investment decisions are made; someone absolutely committed to creating policy certainty and to improving the ease of doing business; to enhancing the performance of public institutions; and, indeed, to also tackle corruption in the public and the private sectors,” Makhura said.
The premier said that, according to the Business Confidence Index, investment confidence was rising in the country. The index showed that business confidence improved to 93.3% in September from 90.5% in August.
“Things are really changing. The mood is changing and I want to say to investors that South Africa is in safe hands,” he said.
The forum, which is hosting 20 heads of state from across the continent, including Ethiopia’s recently appointed first woman president, Sahle-Work Zewde, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, will see government and the private sector implement solid plans to invest in the long-term sustainability and growth of Africa.
Ramaphosa, who also spoke at the forum on Thursday, reflected on the welcome dinner on Wednesday night.
“Last night was a wonderful night and I saw businesspeople who have come to South Africa relaxing and enjoying themselves,” he said.
He commended the African Development Bank on convening the forum, as well as the Gauteng government for co-hosting the forum.
He called the event a “significant milestone” in the journey to reshaping the continent and “to making Africa the next global frontier on growth”.
He called on Africa to mobilise large-scale investment and infrastructure from its partners to harness state-owned enterprises and the private sector to bring added investment to the landscape.
“Africa is indeed a continent on the move; it is indeed a continent on the rise,” he said.
Despite talks around the hope and potential that Africa has to offer the world, Ramaphosa emphasised the need to seal investment deals during the forum that would be in line with the Agenda 2063 goals – a 50-year development plan to accelerate socioeconomic transformation on the continent.
“Agenda 2063 has a resource mobilisation strategy that relies on the identification and expansion of investment partnerships to propel growth. The economic transformation of the continent is dependent on all our efforts to move industrial and infrastructure projects to bankable stages, to raise capital and to accelerate the financial closure of deals,” Ramaphosa said.
“At this forum, we are going to see almost $20 billion [R280 billion] in deals being closed. That is phenomenal,” he said.
During the panel discussion that followed, Ramaphosa said that many countries across the continent had grown in democratic governance, policy certainty and economic stability.
“Many African countries have stopped looking at the private sector as the enemy, and they are also ridding their own countries of corruption and ensuring things are being done in line with governance procedures,” he said.
He added that, following his appointment as president in February, he was certain that Africa was moving in the right direction.
“Having just joined this group of heads of states, I am irrevocably committed to the continent, and I think we should have confidence in the current leadership in the continent to take us forward and implement Agenda 2063,” he said.
The forum ends on Friday.