On 13 April 2023, South Africa will be hosting its 5th edition of the South Africa Investment Conference (“SAIC”) in Johannesburg. Following President Ramaphosa’s 2018 commitment to raise ZAR 1.2 trillion in investments over a period of five years, the next SAIC will soon commence on the rather promising premise that President Ramaphosa has attracted ZAR 1.1 trillion in investment pledges so far, through his investment mobilisation drive.
With this in mind, the upcoming SAIC is likely to to bring some much needed good news regarding investment in South Africa. In comparison to the ZAR 367 billion in investment commitments raised last year, and in light of the difficult conditions in which President Ramaphosa has had to attract more investment commitments this year, the near total achievement of the envisioned commitment investment signifies optimistic growth prospects of the South African economy.
Ahead of the conference, a number of firms have reported on their investment and trade developments in recent months. This despite the plethora of challenges including slow economic growth, a crippling supply of energy and the longstanding effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the SAIC in 2018, the Industrial Development Corporation (“IDC”) has worked closely with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (“DTIC”) to provide it with a secretariat and to improve its institutional infrastructure. In this regard, the IDC has noted that the end of President Ramaphosa’s investment mobilisation drive provides a great opportunity for firms such as the IDC to reflect on their role, the challenges they have faced and their great achievements despite a tough economic climate. For the IDC specifically, which has had its focus on renewable energy initiatives, the investment mobilisation drive cycles have come to an end just as the IDC has grown its exposure to renewable energy generation to ZAR 15.8 billion. These investments have, across a number of provinces, also led to the creation of approximately 8000 jobs and has greatly aided the energy crisis.
Firms in the mining industry have similarly emphasised that, despite major operational challenges and other hurdles, much traction has been gained in terms of investment. For example, the Veneer Steel project, Sedibelo Platinum and the BIAC project, which attracted a ZAR 22 billion investment, will no doubt have a positive impact on South Africa’s industrial capacity.
Further, in accordance with the Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme, an initiative implemented by the DTIC and IDC, approximately ZAR 3.1 billion was invested in the manufacturing industry. This initiative continues to offer manufacturing companies incentivsed to enhance competition, create employment and grow the South African manufacturing industry.
In addition to such investments, the IDC has earmarked additional investment approvals to the value of ZAR 80 billion over the next 3 years, which is further envisioned to enhance growth and transformation.
In this regard and as will be further delineated in tomorrow’s conference, the SAIC is crucial in achieving the country’s growth prospects and ensuring that the core principles of transformation, industry support and industrialisation are affected.
See the full conference programme here.