Closing Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Fifth South Africa Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, 13 April 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have come to the end of the Fifth South Africa Investment Conference.
Having now officially concluded the first phase of our national investment mobilisations drive, we can say this has been a watershed conference.
We have now reached R1,51 trillion in pledges, overshooting our initial R1,2 trillion target by 26 per cent.
We have honoured the undertaking we gave the South African people in 2018 that we would attract new investment to our shores, support the growth of local businesses and create more jobs.
When we set out on this ambitious path five years ago, none of us could have foreseen that the world would be struck by a deadly pandemic.
Nor could any of us have imagined the lingering impact on investment, businesses, jobs, and livelihoods, even years after the existential health threat has passed.
For us to have been able to meet our five-year target despite major challenges and disruptions, including the pandemic, is no mean feat.
It is a stellar achievement. We should all be proud. I want us to give ourselves a hand.
Today’s pledges cover 21 district municipalities across the country.
A number of these investments aren’t only bringing much-needed economic activity to these localities, they are also supporting our overall national development goals.
Infrastructure development is one of the key areas of focus to drive economic growth and is the flywheel that drives economic growth.
When we talk about investment in the cause of development, infrastructure is at the centre.
Infrastructure development meets pressing community needs and leaves behind a legacy that future generations will use.
By way of example, a few years back SANRAL announced at the Investment Conference their plans to build Msikaba Bridge, the longest and highest cable-stayed suspension bridge in Africa.
On a superficial level, this bridge connects the peoples and economies of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, but it is a deeper story about integrated development.
Iron ore for its construction is being mined in the Northern Cape; transported to KwaZulu/Natal and Gauteng to be converted into steel blooms and plates; fabricated in Mpumalanga; and finally, assembled in the Eastern Cape.
For each step in an infrastructure development value chain, jobs are created, small businesses and suppliers supported, and skills are imparted.
Over the four-year period of our investment drive, we have realised approximately R263 billion in investment for infrastructure development.
Not counted in this figure is the hundreds of billions of rands being spent on local and other public infrastructure by the three spheres of government.
Through InfrastructureSA we are hard at work driving the implementation of other key strategic infrastructure projects in water and sanitation.
This includes bulk water projects such as Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, the Mzimvubu water project, the uMkhomazi Water Project, the Mokolo Crocodile River Water Augmentation Project, and others.
A number of other strategic infrastructure projects are either in preparation or under construction in energy, transport, digital infrastructure, agriculture, and human settlements.
Today there have been pledges from several companies and entities to invest in property development and logistics.
This includes in luxury resorts and mixed-use developments, but also in social infrastructure projects like student accommodation.
The South African National Roads Agency is also investing R 19,7 billion in the construction of various roads, bridges, and other critical transport infrastructure.
In my opening remarks this morning I said that by leveraging our strengths and unique value proposition, we will attract higher levels of investment.
South Africa’s unique value proposition is the diversity and sophistication of our economy.
Unlike many other countries whose national economies were founded in and remain reliant on the extractive sectors, we have a diverse economy, and the breadth of investments are indicative of these opportunities that exist.
Today we have seen investment pledges across a range of sectors. They include:
- The R1 billion investment by Turkey’s Menar Group in thermal coal mining in Mpumalanga
- Seriti Group’s R4,5 billion investment in a wind energy project in Mpumalanga
- US-based Moove’s R284 million investment in e-logistics
- Hive Hydrogen’s massive R 105 billion investment in a green hydrogen production facility in Coega in the Eastern Cape.
Hive’s investment in the Eastern Cape will see not only the construction of a green ammonia production plant, but the company also has plans to construct a seawater desalination plant capable of meeting approximately 50 per cent of the water needs of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
Bringing development, and creating jobs is the true measurement of the success of these five conferences.
Investors are keenly aware of the impediments to faster growth and development, but they also see the progress that is being made in fixing these problems.
This was well expressed by the panellists who contributed their thoughts and ideas during the course of this conference, particularly on how collaboration between government, business and civil society would be the best solution to many of our challenges.
I do believe that as investors, you can see the capabilities of our people, the resilience of our institutions, and our determination to forge ahead with a structural reform path that will make us the continent’s premier investment destination.
It is only with your investment that we can bring about the equitable, sustainable development that can forever transform the fortunes of our great country.
We need to see the achievement of our initial five-year target as an opportunity to deepen our collaboration to achieve even more ambitious targets in future.
The success of this first phase must be a springboard towards a recovered, reconstructed, inclusive new economy.
As government and the private sector, we have proven ourselves capable of moving forward together, of working in unison in pursuit of the common good.
We did so exceptionally during the pandemic, we have done so with this investment drive, and now aim to replicate this collaboration as we address challenges with energy and logistics.
I call on every one of us in this room to recommit ourselves to the common good that is South Africa’s development.
I want to thank the sponsors for their generosity.
These are the Industrial Development Corporation, Vodacom, Anglo American, ARM, Exxaro, Google, Thungela Resources, Huawei, Samsung, SAB, Discovery, Transnet, and Coca Cola.
I also want to thank our partners the IDC and BrandSA.
I want to thank our Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel and the Ministerial Steering Committee who have been working to ensure this conference is a success.
I want to thank our investment envoys – Ms Phumzile Langeni, Mr Jacko Maree, Mr Mcebisi Jonas, Mr Trevor Manuel, Mr Derek Hanekom and Mr Jeff Radebe – for their dedication to the task of promoting South Africa as an attractive and dependable investment destination.
I also wish to thank my economic advisor, Ms Trudi Makhaya, who has been central to the effort to promote investment and grow the economy over the last five years.
I also want to thank the Organising Committee, and all the government departments, agencies and entities that have contributed to this conference, including the InvestSA team.
Thanks also go to our partners in business, labour, and civil society for supporting this Investment Conference.
The past five years have shown what we are capable of as a nation. They have shown our resilience and determination, our ability to make progress under difficult circumstances.
As we close this Fifth South Africa Investment Conference, we look to the next five years with greater confidence and ambition.
I now officially announce the countdown to mobilise R2 trillion over the next five years or 1825 days. Let the hard work begin!
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency