South African envoys on investment overdrive at BRICS Business Council meeting

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Ayanda Mdluli

JOHANNESBURG- South African (SA) economists, politicians, and business representatives have upped the ante on attracting investment at the 6th BRICS Business Council meeting in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) as delegates from Brazil, Russia, India, and China were robustly informed that investment was sorely needed to pull SA out of its economic doldrums.

Economists and South African business representatives made it clear that SA needed to attract at least US$ 100 billion (R1.2 trillion) worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Private Equity Capital or cash injections to ensure that SA re-establishes itself as a vibrant economy while addressing its many issues pertaining to inequality and poverty.

Phumzile Langeni, an investment economist and a special envoy to the BRICS Business Council said this substantial investment was needed on a business to business, government to government as well as government to business.

Earlier this year, president Cyril Ramaphosa, set a mandate that SA needed to attract investment that would jump-start the South African economy, which had seen a significant drop in recent years as a result of political uncertainty.

“This investment will also service rural communities and other areas and will not be for the investment of the mainstream economy only. Currently, the investment of BRICS countries into SA is 18 billion dollars and more can be put in in order to achieve our target,” she said.

Trudi Makhaya, the special advisor to president Ramaphosa said there was a clear bid to ensure that SA’s investment initiatives are in line with supporting the inclusive growth of the South African economy. She explained that there was an intrinsic need to unlock the barriers that led to low investment from the previous administration which has led to a need for the restructuring of the South African economy.

“With this restructuring of the economy, we need to ensure that we have a radical increase in investment that will support our ambitions for inclusive growth,” she said.

Addressing journalists, KZN’s acting premier and provincial ANC chair Sihle Zikalala said BRICS remains a significant force for political and economic change as far as South Africa was concerned and that whatever the outcome of the council meeting relations between the five countries would come out stronger and continue to be a force of change in their geopolitical environment.

He further commented: “Our relationship is based on mutual respect and corporation, even at a political level, our countries that are here today come from the same political orientation. The number of countries in BRICS are from the developing world and we all account for 42% of the world population. The total trade between our countries is sitting at R441 billion. When we took over the presidency of BRICS we agreed to work together to ensure that the period of SA as a chair that we invest in SA and in Africa as a whole. We launched the new development bank which is a strategic initiative to support these countries. This is why we need to ensure that we become more conducive for investors to invest,” he explained.

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