Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba met with the head of the CEO Initiative Jabu Mabuza on Tuesday to thrash out a strategy for SA Inc at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort town of Davos next week.

The gathering, between January 23 and 26, brings together prominent business leaders, government officials, academics, as well as representatives of civil society and international organisations to discuss global trends. This year’s theme, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, will make a case for renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges.

The South African delegation to the event will be led by newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa with Gigaba playing the role of lead minister and co-ordinator.

The South African delegation will be riding on the sense of renewed business confidence engendered by Ramaphosa’s election, which has seen a significant strengthening of the rand. The prospects for economic growth have also improved with the World Bank forecasting growth of 1.1% this year, up from last year’s average of 0.8%. The bank has also predicted a modest rise in investment.

The Department of Trade and Industry will work hard to ensure the increase in business confidence translates into investment, the department’s director-general Lionel October said. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has also noted the change in business sentiment — called the "Ramaphosa bounce" — and has asked departmental officials to meet with investors to encourage them to invest or to accelerate the pace of their investments where this had slowed down due to uncertainty and a lack of confidence.

"Many of the investors we have spoken to are much more bullish about the [business] climate," October said. "But everything will just remain sentiment unless we convert it into an actionable programme." The department will also be driving its localisation and black industrialisation policies.

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