An assembly of leaders and decision makers across all spheres of society results in robust and practical solutions to tackle the most pressing issues of our time. Measures such as these were conceptualised by the visionary leaders of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA) when they created the Toronto Global Forum (TGF) 17 years ago in 2006.
This year was no exception as the IEFA convened for their 17th annual Toronto Global Forum between 11 and 13 October in Canada. Hosting over 170 speakers and 3000 attendees from all around the world under the 2023 theme of ‘Fostering Economic Resilience’. Since inception, the different annual themes have always been centered around key pillars that serve as the backbone of what the IEFA seeks to achieve through the Toronto Global Forum. These pillars are the Global Economy, Infrastructure, Finance, Innovation, Energy and Sustainable development.
Looking to deepen relations with Canada, in the areas of trade and investment it was no surprise that South Africa was also well represented at this year’s forum. A strong delegation from South Africa was represented by Brand South Africa, the South African High Commission in Canada and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) who participated in a panel discussion that gave an overview of South Africa as an investment destination for major infrastructure and decarbonised projects. The panel comprised of Thandiwe Fadane, Consul General of South Africa in Toronto, Canada, Garreth Bloor, President of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business, Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research: Mr. Lefentse Nokaneng, DBSA head of the Asset Management and Treasury Infrastructure Fund: Mr. Ahjeeth Jaijai, Group Executive of Project preparation at the DBSA: Ms. Catherine Koffman and DBSA CFO: Ms. Zodwa Mbele.
Team South Africa was bestowed with the responsibility of promoting South Africa’s green economy and investment opportunies for North American Institutional Investors. Being one of the most diverse and largest economies in Africa, South Africa stands as a key market for Canadian goods and services on the continent.
When asked about the investment prospects between Canada and South Africa, Brand South Africa’s General Manager of Research, Mr.Lefentse Nokaneng cited that they project that export opportunities for Canada in Africa could reach US$ 6.6 billion by 2030 as per the consultations they had with the Business Council of Canada. These projections come after the 2022 bilateral merchandise trade between the two states that reached $2.77 billion. The trade comprised of $473.3 million in exports from Canada and $2.3 billion in imports from South Africa. Setting the tone of what seems to be a sustainable investment relationship in the future, Mr. Nokaneng further highlighted that South Africa’s infrastructure investment drive and Just Energy Transition represents an opportunity for Canada to increase its investment in South Africa because Canadian investments focus on the mineral and mining sector, as well as transportation, food processing, hospitality, and information and communication technologies.
To achieve results of this magnitude, South Africa and Canada have had to establish strong economic cooperation among themselves and would need to strengthen it to meet the current investment projections. Mr. Nokaneng emphasised that the two states have been cordially engaging in strategic annual bilateral consultations (AC) that review the work of working groups that cover issues as diverse as foreign policy, trade and investment, innovation, science and technology, the environment and climate change. This bilateral cooperation is coordinated within the framework of a Declaration of Intent on Strengthened Cooperation, which was signed in 2003 and eventually laid the foundation for the Annual Consultations.
South Africa’s participation at the Toronto Global Forum comes at a critical time for an economy that is facing energy challenges. The continued attraction of foreign direct investments into the energy sector and critical infrastructure is a high priority for the Government in addressing this challenge.
Click here to watch the recording of the session.