South Africa pleased with WEF participation


26 January 2015

President Jacob Zuma returned to Pretoria on Saturday upbeat and satisfied with the outcome of South Africa’s participation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The president led a seven-minister delegation to the annual gathering, where they promoted South Africa as a key destination for foreign direct investment and development partnerships. Successful interactive sessions were held with international and South African business leaders, who were interested in a number of sectors. Of particular interest were infrastructure development, energy, transport and broadband, as well as mining, agro-processing and manufacturing.

WEF 2015 ran from 21 to 24 January. Over four days each year, global leaders from across business, government, international organisations, academia and civil society meet in Davos for strategic dialogues which map the key transformations reshaping the world.

The ministers participated as panellists in several sessions, and shared the South African story of progress. They also spoke of the country’s readiness to meet its challenges through implementing the National Development Plan.

“The investors heard our message. They understood us very well that where there were challenges, we had plans to remedy the situation, for example the energy shortage in the country that we are attending to through an infrastructure build and maintenance programme,” said Zuma.

“They heard us when we said we wanted to see a stronger mining sector and a transformed mining sector, hence the need to revitalise mining towns and communities.

“We are happy that South African business was able to echo our message in Davos, making it clear to all that we do talk and work together. We are building our country, and will continue to make progress. We made the point strongly that any wise businessperson would really want to have a presence in South Africa,” Zuma added.

He held bilateral meetings with John Key Mark Rutte, the prime ministers of New Zealand and Netherlands, respectively. The talks contributed to enhancing the good relations between South Africa and the two countries. The president also held a bilateral meeting with Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder of WEF.

WEF was held under the overarching theme of the new global context. “Complexity, fragility and uncertainty are potentially ending an era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989,” it stated on its website.

“What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely ‘new global context’ for decision-making.”

Leaders at the meeting were “looking to strengthen their situation awareness and contextual intelligence”.