SA’s descent into a technical recession has come as a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic hopes. Given limited fiscal space, heavily indebted parastatals and a nervous private sector, Ramaphosa will now need to make good on his promises with regard to foreign direct investment. He will come under heavy pressure to conjure up some good news at the investment conference scheduled for October. Ramaphosa initially claimed the tidy sum of about $100bn in new investment would be raised over five years. The investment drive has become the signature theme of Ramaphosa’s tenure in the Union Buildings. He has sought out investment partners on the African continent, in the Middle East, across the global South, and among the countries of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. This week he has been in China, where opaque energy sector loans have already been promised for the ailing Eskom. SA is now also pursuing Chinese funds for infrastructure investment and for the...

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