At this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF), in Davos, Switzerland, TeamSA will present a picture of a country that, while facing many challenges, is moving forward and implementing serious structural reforms, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel noted during a pre-WEF media briefing, on Thursday.
Patel said a major message that would be communicated to investors would be that, since last year, the country has undergone a peaceful election and change of leadership, the results of which were broadly welcomed by markets.
This was reaffirmed by Mboweni, who emphasised that the country enjoyed political stability.
Mboweni said that despite the difficult economic and fiscal environment facing the country, authorities were determined to pursue growth initiatives in a sustainable way that ensured the poor and marginalised were uplifted.
Therefore, TeamSA will be profiling the current initiatives to overcome the challenges of governance and the smooth operation of State-owned enterprises.
In this vein, he cited government’s support for industrial development programmes, including the creation of special economic zones, as an example of the strides that have been made.
Moreover, a new Integrated Resources Plan has been gazetted, efforts have been taken to simplify the visa regime and Cabinet has instructed the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to implement the licensing of broadband spectrum.
While the message at Davos will be that government is pursuing structural reforms, Mboweni acknowledged that the current pace at which this was being done was not fast enough and that this needed to be sped up.
Concerns are expected to be raised at Davos about the country’s capacity to supply consistent power, with regular occurrences of load-shedding.
However, Mboweni said TeamSA’s message would refute claims that there was no electricity; and further, it would be communicated that progress has been made in stabilising the failing State-owned power utility, with plans to unbundle Eskom now on the table.
Meanwhile, with regard to South Africa’s role on the continent, TeamSA would also highlight the progress made with the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Mboweni noted that Africa continued to make economic progress and that many countries had major reform initiatives that supported this, which would also be communicated at the WEF.