South Africa remains open for business and dedicated to creating a conducive environment for it to strive, says Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
The Minister made the remarks on Thursday during an engagement with members of the media ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
“We remain steadfast in carrying out structural reforms to support and accelerate economic recovery. As government, we remain resolved to deal with the energy and logistics challenges that are adversely impacting our economy,” he told the media.
This year’s meeting, which will take place from 15 to 19 January 2024, will focus on rebuilding trust.
“It is quite apt, considering the complexity associated with the domestic and transnational headwinds we are facing.”
He explained that the theme will link four interconnected thematic priorities.
These include achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world; creating growth and jobs for a new era; artificial intelligence; and a long-term strategy for climate, nature and energy.
According to Godongwana, South Africa remains the gateway to Africa and has called on international investors to invest in Africa and South Africa.
Meanwhile, he is of the view that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides further opportunities for South African businesses to expand and grow their business and for international businesses to partner with local companies to increase their presence in Africa.
“Many of you have been attending the annual meeting for many years now, and I’m sure you will agree with me that these issues are ones that current and potential investors in our country and continent are interested in.”
The Minister also took the opportunity to thank the private sector for being a willing partner of government, in addressing the challenges the country faces towards unlocking economic growth.
In addition, he said marketing the country during WEF Davos is another great opportunity for collaboration.
Meanwhile, Godongwana said fiscal consolidation is needed to tackle soaring debt levels, while monetary policy should stay the course to bring inflation to target.
“Structural reforms remain crucial to revive medium-term growth prospects amid constrained policy space. The green transition, increasing resilience to climate shocks, and improving food security for millions of people require strengthened multilateral frameworks and adherence to rules-based platforms for international cooperation.”
He is also of the view that access to competitive international development finance, for developing countries, is imperative to ensure a successful green transition.
In addition, he said government will also be tabling matching competitive financing for green transitions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in international financial institutions and key global economic platforms such as the Group of 20 (G20).
“Today provides a platform for a frank discussion to enable government and business to align their message for Davos.
“As government, we value this engagement. This is a testament to the presence of my colleagues. We are encouraged that business holds the same view given the level of representation. We might not agree on all the policy issues. However, it is important that we find common ground and that we speak as one voice in Davos.”
He told the media that Treasury, various government departments and Brand SA, have prepared key messages that the State and business can use as a guide for the country’s engagement at WEF.
“I would just like to highlight the following. The common message we are taking to the annual meeting is that South Africa remains open for business and is committed to creating a conducive environment.”