Hilary Joffe Columnist

The feel-good factor was formidable, the president was fabulous and even the cynics among the more than 1,000 participants at President Cyril Ramaphosa's investment conference came away feeling upbeat. But will it help to prompt the massive surge in productive investment that Ramaphosa hopes will drive meaningful growth and job creation in coming years? It's early days but judged purely on the numbers and on the explicit objective of attracting new investment, local and foreign, it's not clear how much was achieved. The R290bn in new investment pledges included some exciting projects, in new-economy sectors as well as the old - Amazon's cloud computing hub, Rain's data network, Aspen's anaesthetics plant, along with some big investments in mining, forestry and other sectors. But not that much was new. Most were projects already on the drawing board and many had already been announced. A good few were stay-in-business capital spending, rather than genuine expansion projects. And some...

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