SOUTH AFRICA is preparing to promote itself as an attractive investment destination as leaders worldwide descend on Cape Town for the twenty-third World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa next week. The WEF on Africa, themed ‘Delivering on Africa’s Promise’, will be held from May 8 to 10, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. South Africa, which hosts the event every second year, aimed to direct the theme around three anchor topics, namely accelerating economic diversification, boosting strategic infrastructure and unlocking Africa’s talent, said Finance Deputy Minister Nhlanhla Nene. Last year, Ethiopia hosted the twenty-second forum, in Addis Ababa, with a focus on leadership, innovation and shared opportunities, as well as on increasing investment in frontier markets.
Speaking at a pre-event media briefing, in Johannesburg, on Friday, Nene said South Africa, this year, aimed to increase exposure to its National Development Plan, as well as boost the profile of the country as a strategic investment destination. The yearly forum provided an opportunity for local and regional businesses and investors that are interested in the continent to exchange and explore possible partnerships with governments. The growing popularity of the WEF on Africa reflected the continent’s potential to deliver on its promises of significant resources, vast agricultural land and development opportunities and the urgency of building on the progress that had already been made on the continent, said WEF director for Africa Elsie Kanza. “There is a much bigger buzz around Africa,” she said, commenting on the stronger interest in the continent over the last few years. However, despite Africa’s improvements over the past years, more was needed, she said, citing infrastructure development as an example.
This year, more than 1 000 delegates and participants from over 80 countries are expected to gather in Cape Town. Of these, 600 will be from 35 African countries. Business leaders account for about 700 of the participants, while 14 African heads of State or Presidents are expected, with Ministers in tow. South Africa’s representation includes President Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, Mineral Resource Minister Susan Shabangu, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Communications Minister Dina Pule, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.