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Source: Gauteng Provincial Government
Title: Shilowa: Commonwealth Investment Forum
Address by Premier Mr Mbhazima Shilowa at the Commonwealth
4th Investment Forum
Director-General of the Commonwealth Business Council, Dr Mohan
Chief Executive of the NEPAD Secretariat Prof Firmino
Ministers of Finance
Minister of Trade and Industry Mandisi Mphahlwa
MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs Paul Mashatile
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Gauteng tonight at this
Gala dinner for the fourth Commonwealth Investment Forum (CIF). It
is an honour for Gauteng to be a sponsor and to host this dinner.
The CIF is an important event in the continent's and international
economic calendar, and an opportunity for African and international
business leaders to come together with governments, with the aim of
increasing business and investment.
2005 has been a very busy year for Africa in the international
agenda. The United Nations (UN) High-Level Dialogue on Financing
for Development in June, the commission for Africa, the G8 Summit
in Gleneagles in Scotland in July, as well as the General Assembly
Millennium Development Goals Review Summit in September, have all
put Africa at the centre of the international agenda. Some real
progress has been made in debt relief and aid, and the challenge of
trade reform made clear.
As we gather here today, South Africa as a country we are engaging
in the process of producing a report for the African Peer Review
Mechanism, which is part of the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD). We are reviewing what success we have made in
democracy and good political governance, economic governance and
management, corporate governance and socio economic
My primary job this evening is to describe how this province and
South Africa are creating new and exciting opportunities to
investment and trade, and not to draw up a balance sheet of
Africa's progress. But I think it is appropriate, given the great
importance of the economic ties between Gauteng and the rest of the
continent to say something about the wider picture.
Africa is currently experiencing its best economic performance in
many years. That is very good news. The continent's economies are
benefiting from global expansion, notably through higher demand for
commodities at higher prices, as well as and improved macroeconomic
management and lower inflation.
The aggregate eight-year high of 5.1 per cent growth in 2004 is
more than a dry statistic. It makes for real changes in people's
lives - for example, almost one in 10 Africans has gained access to
mobile telephony in the past few years - a communication revolution
that creates endless new possibilities for families, education, and
the ability to earn a living. I am proud that many of these
opportunities have been created by cellphone operators based in
Such progress, however, masks real divergences between countries.
The vulnerability of the continent and its peoples is starkly
illustrated by the fact that while the general rise in global
commodity prices gave a positive impetus to African oil and metal
exporters, at the same time many West African countries facing
catastrophic losses from lower prices for cotton and cocoa. The
Francophone zone faces new challenges due to the appreciation of
the Euro - an experience well-known by exporters in this province
due to the appreciation of the Rand. These fluctuations remind us
that in the global economy external shocks and changes are beyond
the control of any one economy.
Global competition is more intense, and discrimination against
Africa's natural advantages through unfair trade policy is still an
obstacle to growth. It is thus important to pursue Africa's
integration into the global economy and remove discriminatory trade
policies, as well as stepping up efforts at growing African trade.
Intra African trade remains well below that of other markets -
under 10% compared to 37% in Europe.
The NEPAD thrust to improve market access, and the commitment of
regional economic organisations to this process - is important to
enable Africa to adjust to global trade reforms. The removal of
cross-border barriers is also required to help boost investment in
infrastructure, which requires planning at a regional level, with a
medium to long term perspective, and the early involvement of the
private sector to ensure that projects are viable and sustainable.
We strongly support these reforms.
Business has a key role to play with civil society, governments,
the professions and the Diaspora in helping to realise these
Creating good conditions for doing business is a fundamental goal
of NEPAD and an area, which depends almost exclusively on Africans
taking responsibility for change. This is a job for Africans to
lead, but we welcome allies and partners in all parts of the
We so, however, remain acutely aware of the problems and
difficulties, which still weigh heavily in our societies -
HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and poverty.
But there is a quiet, underlying confidence among leaders in
government and business that Africa is on the right track. With the
right policies, efforts and with focus, development returns are
possible and the man and woman in the street can expect to see a
Perhaps I could now turn to explain how in Gauteng we have set
about creating a positive environment for business. We have
realised the strategic objective of turning the Gauteng Province
into a globally competitive investment opportunity. In the past the
riches of its soil delivered its wealth, but today the province is
offering a new form of gold - its human capital.
The last decade has seen a purposeful re-engineering of the
provincial economy. Together with the private sector, we have
decided to turn the Gauteng Province into a globally competitive
investment opportunity, from primary and secondary sector activity
to a tertiary focus, especially in services and high value added
manufacturing. This structural shift places the province on a new
growth path and holds major significance for global and local
Aligned to a pragmatic fiscal policy at national level, the
Province has created a stable platform for rapid socio-economic
growth. To address this, the Trade and Industrial Strategy of the
province is directed by five key thrusts.
We have realigned the manufacturing sector away from the
traditional heavy industry input markets and low value added
production towards a more sophisticated, high value added
production, as well as towards the development of other high value
added production activities in the agriculture and mineral
We are bent on the development of the Gauteng Province as the
"Smart" knowledge centre, with a specific emphasis on information
technology, telecommunications equipment, research and development
and bio-medical industries.
The development of the finance and business service sectors with
specific emphasis on financial services and technology, auxiliary
business services and technology, corporate head office relocation
and business tourism is also a crucial factor for our
The province is well geared to address poverty eradication and
employment generation. These are initiatives towards the expansion
of targeted sectors and business activities in the Gauteng
Province. These are deliberately viewed in the context of
leveraging the benefits of employment generation through income
redistribution and poverty alleviation.
Our thrust on the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE),
which seeks to encourage new business activity to draw-in
participants at ownership and management levels from a wide
spectrum of people. These include those who do not have existing
wealth, assets and skills. This implies a focus on newer and
smaller enterprises, rather than an expansion of large
All of these thrusts are underpinned by the Gauteng Development
Strategy to ultimately create a better life for all our citizens
through the long term sustainable growth. This will be done through
meeting the socio-economic development needs of our people,
creating jobs and addressing unemployment and poverty.
In the context of investments, these programmes are designed to
offer local business sectors platforms for growth, but to also
encourage opportunities for international trade. But again it is
the human capital that has made these a success, many of them being
examples of effective Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Through this initiative, Gauteng has embarked on building an
Automotive Hub that is a unique pioneering concept in South Africa
and Africa. It will be in a Supplier Park and will comprised of
grouping the different grouping of technologies, suppliers and
service providers with automotive manufacturers in Rosslyn in
Tshwane. This endeavour is aimed at achieving optimal production
through economies of scale.
Through its rapid rail transport project, the Gautrain flagship, is
the largest public private partnership ever embarked upon in the
province and in the country. The Gautrain will advance economic
growth in the province by improving the movement of persons and
goods and offering an easy connection between major centres within
the province and the Johannesburg International Airport.
The City Deep Transport Logistics Hub is also set to decrease the
transportation costs of containerised cargo moving into and out of
Gauteng as well as to and from African countries.
The Johannesburg International Airport Industrial Development Zone
in the eastern part of the province, will provide an efficient and
effective import and export duty-free zone for high value added
light manufactured goods export.
Further, a Jewellery Industrial Development Zone will be
established at the airport allowing for gold and diamond loans and
The Innovation Hub is another successful PPP example. It is the
first internationally accredited Science and Technology Park in
Africa. It has created a unique environment where cutting-edge
technologies can be developed, piloted and demonstrated. It is a
world-class hi-tech business precinct with state-of-the-art
The Constitution Hill Precinct previously the Old Fort Prison, was
developed to celebrate South Africa's transition to democracy and
houses the new Constitutional Court, the Independent Electoral
Commission, the Human Rights Library and the Old Fort living
Another flagship is the Dinokeng project is located just twenty
minutes from Pretoria and the Johannesburg International Airport,
this strategic tourism investment supplements the province's
existing ecotourism offerings.
Its main benefit is its proximity to the Tshwane and Johannesburg
cities and the International Airport.
The Cradle of Humankind, a world heritage site which has yielded
valuable insight into the origin of humankind, is being developed
whilst ensuring that it retains its integrity to increase tourism
in the province.
In this spirit, we are delighted that you will continue to work
with the Government of South Africa and NEPAD and look forward to
working with you all to realise the outcomes of this meeting.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you for giving your
time and ideas to make our deliberations so fruitful. I wish you a
pleasant stay for the remainder of your time in Gauteng and South
Africa, and a safe journey home.
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Gauteng Provincial
10 October 2005