Wed, 23 Jun 2021

Over 50 companies are set to make new commitments at this year's investor conference, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

The president delivered the opening address at the third annual investment conference on Wednesday. The investment drive was announced in 2018, with the aim to raise R1.2 trillion in five years. So far, R664 billion in commitments have been made by both domestic and international investors.

This year's conference is a hybrid event, with 175 delegates at the Sandton Convention Centre and about 1700 viewing online. They include international investors and public officials as well as labour and entrepreneurs.

"This is the time to invest. I would like to invite you to participate in this conference, but make sure you have your cheque books with you, because we want you to invest," said Ramaphosa.

The president said the focus of this year's conference will be the consolidation of existing commitments, to get projects underway.

"We want to see this R664 billion translated into new factories, production lines, mining operations, retail outlets and infrastructure.

"We want to see it translated into new jobs, new skills and new opportunities," said Ramaphosa.

A total of 102 projects were announced at the last two conferences and R172 billion of the committed amount has been spent to date.

Notably the mining and mineral beneficiation sector has spent over R63.6 billion to date. The flow of investment into the ICT sector stands at R31 billion and the automotive sector has attracted R23 billion in investment flow, Ramaphosa said.

Other sectors have seen billions in flows too. These include: property and hospitality with flows of R8.2 billion; infrastructure with flows of R7.7 billion; forestry, paper and pulp with flows of R6.3 billion; fast-moving consumer goods with flows of R6 billion, and financial services with flows of R5.6 billion.

So far 19 investment projects from the last two years have been completed and launched, 44 projects are under construction and 12 projects are in the early stages of implementation.

However, 21 projects - or 10% of commitments - have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like a protea

Ramaphosa said the Covid-19 crisis reminded him of the resilience of a protea. "In the aftermath of a fire, dormant buds survive and the protea releases its seeds. The land comes back to life even richer than before. In many ways it exemplifies how a phoenix rises from the ashes. This is the situation we find ourselves in today," he said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had damaged the economy. The task now is to rebuild the economy, as a protea germinates after a fire.

The president highlighted several reasons for investment in SA, such as reforms in the energy and telecommunications sector as well as efforts to reindustrialise the economy and "turn the tide" on corruption.

Regarding new commitments, to be announced later, the president described these as a "form of compact" between companies, their shareholders and their stakeholders.

The conference continues through Wednesday afternoon.

Source: News24

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