Mar 2022 2nd edition

SA gears up for investment conference

Trade, Industry and Competition Minis­ter Ebrahim Patel has hailed the South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) for the massive investments it is bringing into the country.

South Africa will host its fourth SAIC in Johannes­burg on 24 March 2022. The three previous conferences have resulted in significant progress towards the coun­try’s investment targets.

“President Cyril Ramap­hosa in 2018 committed to raising over R1.2 trillion worth of investments over a five-year period, and hosted three annual investment conferences, at which he set out the policy context and reforms, and the private sector provided feedback and made pledges to invest.

“Pledges received in the first three investment conferences amounted to roughly 64% of the five-year Investment Mobilisation Drive target of R1.2 trillion,” said the Minister.

At the third SAIC, pledges of about R774 billion were made.

Of the 152 investment announcements made previously, 45 projects have already been completed.

This means that the con­struction of the facility has been completed, or where it involves new machinery or equipment, these have been procured and installed; or that production has started.

A further 57 projects are currently under construc­tion. Fifteen projects are either progressing slowly or have been put on hold due to the impact of the Corona­virus Disease or economic factors, Minister Patel said.

“As of February 2022, those firms that have com­pleted their reporting have advised that R314 billion (40.6%) of the committed investment pledges have been expended,” he added.

Companies back investment drive

Takalani Netshitenzhe, the Chief Officer: External Affairs at Vodacom, said four years ago at the first SAIC, the company pledged to invest R50 billion on fibre and mobile networks over a period of five years.

 “We are living up to our pledge,” she said.

Naspers Director of Coo­perate Affairs Helen Ndlovu said the company is com­mitted to this year’s SAIC as a means of promoting South Arica as an attractive investment destination and re-establishing confidence in the economy.

Ndlovu added that Nasp-ers recognises the value of investment in unlocking the potential of South African companies and the role of these companies in creating jobs, stimulating growth and encouraging investor confidence.

“As Naspers, we have seen first-hand what the right investment, business support and partnerships can do in growing tech start-ups and also what the requisite digital skills training, opportunities and experience can do for young graduates ente­ring the workplace,” said Ndlovu.

During the first conference in 2018, Naspers pledged R4.6 billion to invest in new technology start-ups and grow its existing South Africa businesses.

Pledges at previous conferences include pharmaceu­tical company Aspen’s R3.4 billion at the 2018 SAIC.

Aspen has already provi­ded Africa with much of its first vaccine manufacturing capability (for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), with an estimated 160 million doses produced in South Africa.

In 2018, Bidvest also announced a R1-billion investment in a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility in Richards Bay. The 22 600 ton LPG storage faci­lity has been commissioned and is the region’s largest import terminal.

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