8 independent THE SUNDAY Brand SA JANUARY 18 2015 SA is open for business and oiling wheels for investors This is the message Team SA are taking to the WEF in Davos S OUTH Africa is committed to improving its global competitiveness and reputation with a view to delivering on its growth and developmental imperatives. South Africa continues to compare well with other emerging markets. In a bid to drive this point home with international investors, South Africa will be represented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21-24 by a highlevel and multistakeholder team. Team South Africa will bring to the 2 500 participants at the summit the message that South Africa is open for business and that it remains an attractive and reliable investment destination. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Restrictiveness Index, South Africa ranks among the most open jurisdictions in the world for foreign direct Investment. Openness is reflected in the growth in foreign direct investment in South Africa in the 22 years since 1994. South Africa’s foreign direct investment accounts for 42 percent of gross domestic product. Over the past five years, South Africa accounted for the bulk of new investment projects in Africa, with investment arriving from the US, some EU states and increasingly from China, India and other Asian countries. The country attracted about 24 percent of all foreign direct investment projects in Africa between 2007 and 2013. In this light, and notwithstanding the challenging global economic conditions, in August 2013, the Global Financial Times magazine voted South Africa the best investment destination in Africa for 2013 and last year. The 2014 AT Kearney Foreign Direct Confidence Index ranks South Africa in 13th position among 25 leading economies, up two places since 2013. South Africa ranks higher than countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Netherlands. Research by Dr Stephen Gelb, the International Investment Initiative director at the University of Bern’s World Trade Institute, shows that more than 130 foreign firms entered South Africa or expanded their investments in 2013 – that is, about 2.5 foreign firms a week announced an investment in South Africa. Trade and Investment South Africa developed R60.5 billion in potential investment projects for 2013/14. The draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill has generated some negative comment. The reality is that this bill will ensure that all investors – domestic and foreign – will be treated equally on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination and substantial protection of investor rights, based on the constitution. The World Bank’s 2015 Ease of Doing Business report, which ranks 189 countries, shows South Africa dropped from 41st to 43rd. This comes at a time of subdued GDP outlook. The report attributes the drop to South Africa’s poor or limited access to electricity, which is one of the biggest hurdles to doing business in the country, where it takes on average five procedures and 226 days to get connected to the grid. Despite this, South Africa has improved in a range of indicators: starting a business from 64 to 61; registering property, from 99 to 97; trading across borders, 106 to 100; enforcing contracts, 80 to 46; and payment of taxes, 24 to 19. South Africa’s fall in the rank- “ IT REMAINS A RELIABLE DESTINATION FOR INVESTMENT ings can also be attributed to counterproductive credit policies, namely making access to credit information more difficult. The results of the 2015 Ease of Doing Business Report suggest that South Africa has work to do in creating an enabling environment to attract inward flows of investment. The challenges are, however, not insurmountable and many are being addressed. In line with the National Development Plan, we need collectively to begin creating the conditions that improve our competitiveness. According to the World Bank, “the 20 economies at the top of the ease of doing business ranking perform well not only on the Doing Business indicators, but also in other international data sets capturing dimensions of competitiveness”. As a developing nation, South Africa will be confronted continually by considerable socio-economic challenges that need to be resolved. However, the development of powerful interventions such as the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path provide broad yet strong blueprints for dealing with these structural issues. The focus should remain firmly on the implementation of such plans. The government is committed to creating an enabling environment that will facilitate investment, job creation and growth. Appropriately calibrated and enforced regulations provide business with certainty and a stable business environment. Regulations are also essential to reduce the illicit trade that is not only harmful to workers and consumers, but constitutes unfair competition to South African companies that are law-abiding. We must not lose sight of the things we are getting right. The government and society need to work in genuine partnership to pursue the country’s economic vision with conviction and vigour. Meanwhile, South Africa needs to continue to send a message to the world that it is very much “open for business”. Follow Team South Africa at WEF Davos on @Brand_SA #SAinDavos on January 21-24. ■ Davies is minister of trade and industry Embracing change, expanding investment opportunities McCannJHB 912681 ROB DAVIES Sandiso Sibisi Aslam Levy Raelene Rorke Katleho Tsoku Bokang Seritsane Bonolo Ramokhele Developing women key to creating equal society SANDISO SIBISI: Founder of Born to Succeed and consultant at Accenture. “Through the development of young women in South Africa, we can increase employment and contribute to a healthier economy nationally and globally. “Through forums like the World Economic Forum, we can draw global attention to how the underdevelopment of woman can cripple national and global economic development. “Platforms such as this are essential to continued efforts to develop young women to bridge the economic gap and create a less gendered international system, leading to a more equal society.” Follow Sandiso Sibisi on Twitter: @sandisosibisi KATLEHO TSOKU: Entrepreneur and chief executive of Spark SA. “South Africans are always focused on the bread-and-butter issues. If the price of fuel increases, we become seriously concerned. What we don’t realise is that these issues do not occur in isolation – they are a result of bigger international forces. “That is why the WEF is important. It is a creative force for engaging leaders in collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas, which in turn affect everyday issues.” Follow Katleho Tsoku on Twitter: @katleho_tsoku ASLAM LEVY: Director for online platforms for government communications and WEF Global Shaper. “Limited access to information and communication technology (ICT) and the cost of internet data transfer are among the challenges to South Africa’s competitiveness and a major hindrance in our development. “If we wish to challenge the global order it is imperative that we advance our broadband ICT infrastructure to improve access and lower the cost of these technologies.The digital economy and the new world order are a WEF discussion point I will follow closely.” Follow Aslam Levy on Twitter: @Aslam_Levy BOKANG SERITSANE: Entrepreneur and founder of Under 35 Mavericks Youth Entrepreneurship Consultancy. “Entrepreneurship is a critical driver of economic growth, job creation and the prosperity of nations and all mankind. One of the key factors in the creation of a successful business is mentorship. Because the WEF attracts top business leaders, it is a vitally important forum to tap into that rich pool of experience, expertise and advice. “Before a company becomes a multinational corporation, it starts with an idea, then it becomes a start-up, later an SME and finally, with planning and execution, it conquers the globe.” Follow Bokang Seritsane on Twitter: @under35maverick RAELENE RORKE: Founder of SpringAGE and WEF Global Shaper. “One of the most powerful aspects about the WEF platform is that it values the input of young people, in the context of their communities through the WEF Global Shapers programme. We are tackling global and local challenges, such as youth unemployment, through projects, innovations and discussions.” Follow Raelene Rorke on Twitter: @RaeleneRorke BONOLO RAMOKHELE: Co-founder and chief executive of the LeoFortis Group. “The world needs a focus on Africa. The continent has a wealth of resources and is to benefit from its youth dividend.The high-level engagements at the WEF allow for participants to reorientate the developmental agenda. It is a platform for Africans to promote our innovative industries.” Follow Bonolo Ramokhele on Twitter: @bonoloramokhele Forum is a conversation about improving the world M I L L E R M A T O LA South Africa is amongst the most open destinations for FDI in the world according to the OECD, the best investment destination in Africa for 2013 and 2014 according to the Global Financial Times and a competitive destination for doing business according to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. South Africa is a country at work, South Africa is open for business. www.southafrica.info ONLY a few days into 2015, an inspired Team South Africa is earnestly at work positioning the country as an attractive and reliable destination of choice that is open for business.This is the message we will be taking to the World Economic Forum’s yearly gathering of thought leaders in Davos on January 21-24. We will also be taking this message to the 2015 Mining Indaba in Cape Town from February 9. Such platforms are critical in positioning South Africa and we must use them efficiently. You may ask why Davos matters, especially as it may not necessarily yield trade agreements or other tangible outcomes. Davos matters because it brings together like-minded people who are interested in challenging norms and doing things differently to improve the state of the world. It is not just a gathering of government and business leaders. You will also find social change activists who bring a reality to the conversation. The motto of the World Economic Forum is:“Committed to improving the state of Miller Matola the world.” Team South Africa is pleased to be part of this critical conversation, which resonates with our objective of reforming the sometimes skewed global governance and economic architecture. Improving the state of the world will require co-operation and leadership at all levels. Follow Team South Africa on @Brand_SA #SAinDavos. ■ Miller Matola is chief executive of Brand South Africa.
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