6 May 2014
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli will represent South Africa at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa summit in Abuja, Nigeria this week, the Presidency announced on Monday.
Over 900 international leaders from business, government, civil society and academia will gather in Nigeria’s capital from Wednesday through Friday to discuss structural reforms and investments that can help sustain the continent’s growth while creating jobs and prosperity.
Jabu Mabuza, chairman of South African electricity parastatal Telkom, is one of seven co-chairs of the summit. Brand South Africa will also run a programme at the summit, including hosting a dialogue in partnership with CNBC Africa on Wednesday.
“Africa has remained at the centre of our foreign policy,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. “We have also prioritised the promotion of regional economic integration, infrastructure development, intra-African trade and sustainable development in the continent.
“The World Economic Forum is an important platform to take this agenda forward, especially as it enables Africa to interact with the world to promote growth and development.”
Gordhan noted that the Abuja summit was taking place against the backdrop of a much improved outlook for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
“In its most recent regional economic outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will pick up from 4.9 percent in 2013 to 5.5 percent this year, an acceleration which the IMF ascribed to improved prospects in a large number of countries in the region,” Gordhan said.
Elsie Kanza, the World Economic Forum’s Africa director, said in a WEF statement on Monday that Africa’s continued progress “depends fundamentally on the ability of its leaders to take the bold decisions necessary to transform the region’s economy and society.
“By bringing together leaders from politics, business and civil society, we hope the meeting will offer an environment where such decisions can be catalysed, and where commitment and creativity can be drawn on to build a future fit for all Africans.”