Good morning and welcome ladies and gentlemen.
Under the theme, Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future, the 25th World Economic Forum on Africa will convene regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to take stock of progress over the last 25 years, share insights on the present landscape and identify innovative approaches to accelerate inclusive growth while bringing about sustainable development in the future.
This theme must be about supporting transformation of the global political and economic architecture.
The World Economic Forum’s Africa meeting follows the month in which South Africa celebrates Africa Month (May) and Africa Day (25 May) and comes ahead of the bi-annual African Union Summit. South Africa will use these key events to mobilise attention, and action, in support of the African developmental agenda, and particularly Agenda 2063. Let me take this opportunity to condemn the acts of violence that have been levelled against some foreign national residing in some of the nine provinces of South Africa. As a country we stand firmly against all intolerances such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism.
Undoubtedly, this is also an important event to show-case what South Africa has to offer to other countries and business globally.
South Africa is open for business!
In 2012 South Africa adopted the National Development Plan as our roadmap to the future we want. The NDP is South Africa’s blueprint for economic development and social cohesion and a better life for all its citizens.
liThe NDP presents a guiding vision for growth by:li
liTargeting the creation of 11 million jobs between now and 2030 and provides a strategy of how to achieve this targetli
liPrioritising the development of economic infrastructure to support growth as mentioned earlierli
liRecognises the need to undertake short to medium term measures to address the poverty that is affecting our communitiesli
liProposes reforms to the public health system and the introduction of a National Health Insuranceli
liEmphasises the importance and development of actions of education in the long-term growth and development of our countryli
liWe are implementing the NDP despite many challenges we face.li
South Africa remains the most diversified economy on the continent – providing a supportive regulatory framework, well developed infrastructure network, a world class financial hub and world class services for business opportunities. We remain a competitive business and investment destination. According to the UNCTAD, South Africa remained the top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in Africa during 2013, significantly increasing FDI inflows from $4.6bn in 2012 to $8.1bn in 2013 – mostly in green field investments.
Through the work of Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Council (PICC), infrastructure investment has been an essential catalyst for growing our economy and attracting private sector investment. Public sector investment is estimated to total R847.3bn in the current financial year.
Our infrastructure programme is contributing positively to the country’s competitiveness as well as supporting regional integration, investment support and growth in Southern Africa. This has contributed to the ease of movement of people, goods and services within South Africa and in the sub-region.
We continue to make strides in improving the ease of doing business. South Africa, if compared to the other BRICS nations, comes first in five of the 10 criteria the World Bank uses to assess ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting investors, and paying taxes.
For the Africa the significance of the hosting the WEF provides an opportunity in driving a holistic growth and development strategy through the recently adopted Agenda 2063. Agenda 2063 is a call for action and a strategic framework and roadmap to achieve continental development goals, and represents a collective effort and an opportunity for Africa to regain its power to determine its own destiny.
Agenda 2063 is underpinned by the AU vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa that will support development of the continent and strengthen African integration and unity. It aims to build upon the achievements and draw lessons from earlier efforts such as the Lagos Plan of Action, the Abuja Treaty and the NEPAD to address new challenges faced by the continent.
World Economic Forum Africa provides an important platform in supporting our development agenda through the NDP and Africa’s Agenda 2063 that can contribute towards a more inclusive growth and development programme that will benefit all Africans by:
liSupporting an inclusive growth strategyli
liSupporting infrastructure programmes to address key services such as water, energy, roads and telecommunicationsli
liSupporting key poverty intervention programmesli
liSupporting regional integration and growthli
South Africa values the importance and contribution WEF provides in creating economic opportunities for growth and development in our country and the rest of the continent.
We have the pleasure to announce the participation of the following Cabinet Ministers at WEF Africa 2015:
liCwele, Siyabonga, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Servicesli
liDavies, Rob, Minister of Trade and Industryli
liGordhan, Pravin, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairsli
liHanekom, Derek Andre, Minister of Tourismli
liJoemat-Pettersson, Tina, Minister of Energyli
liMapisa-Nqakula, Nosiviwe Noluthando, Minister of Defence and Military Veteransli
liMokonyane, Nomvula Paula, Minister of Water and Sanitationli
liMolewa, Edna, Minister of Environmental Affairsli
liMotsoaledi, Aaron, Minister of Healthli
liNene, Nhlanhla Musa, Minister of Financeli
liNkoana-Mashabane, Maite E., Minister of International Relations and Cooperationli
liPandor, Grace Naledi Mandisa, Minister of Science and Technologyli
liPatel, Ebrahim, Minister of Economic Developmentli
liRadebe, Jeff, Minister in the Presidencyli
liRamatlhodi, Ngoako Abel, Minister of Mineral Resourcesli
liNzimande, Bonginkosi Emmanuel, Minister of Higher Education and Trainingli
liMuthambi, Faith, Minister of Communicationsli
liMthethwa, Nathi, Minister of Arts and Cultureli
Thank you once more for given South Africa the opportunity to host the WEF Africa 2015. We are looking forward to a constructive and productive week of engagements between government, business and civil society.
Africa welcomes you!
Issued by: The Presidency
Source : South African Government