Ladies and Gentlemen,
The third South Africa Investment Conference has now come to an end.
It has been a gathering filled with promise and optimism.
It has also been a practical Conference, focusing on the numerous opportunities that exist in this country, the challenges that investors face and the measures that must be undertaken to address these.
The world is still very much in the throes of a devastating pandemic that has thrown global markets into disarray.
Tough decisions have had to be made on investments, on expansion and on entry into new markets.
It is therefore significant that you have all come here – both in person and virtually – to show that this is a country you believe in and want to see succeed.
The plenary and breakaway sessions have taken place in the spirit of frank and honest dialogue.
The engagements have been driven towards solutions.
There has been an appreciation of the work that has been done to address the challenges of the past and broad consensus on what needs to be done to move forward.
This year’s Investment Conference has, in the main, been about implementation.
But it has also been about new investments, about companies that are looking beyond the pandemic to invest in a growing economy.
I am therefore immensely pleased to announce here today that we are firmly on track to meet our five year target of $100 billion in new investments.
At the time we set this target in April 2018, this was equivalent to R1.2 trillion.
In this, the third year of hosting the South Africa Investment Conference, 50 companies have made investment commitments to the value of R109.6 billion.
This brings the total value of investment commitments over the last three years to R773.6 billion.
This represents around 64 per cent of our five year target.
This year’s conference stands out for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is taking place in an extremely subdued economic climate.
To secure investment commitments of over R100 billion is therefore a remarkable achievement.
Secondly, we are seeing significant numbers of smaller, good quality investments in the manufacturing sector, which is a priority for our recovery.
A number of the new announcements are from companies that have made investments in previous years and are now expanding and upgrading.
Thirdly, several of the investment commitments made at this conference are in sectors that have been hard-hit by COVID-19, especially the tourism and hospitality industries.
These investments will go a long way towards their recovery.
As in previous years, the breadth of investments showcases the diversity of the South African economy.
This year’s announcements include both greenfield and expansion projects across the country.
They range from advanced manufacturing to the automotive sector, from agro-processing to oil and gas, from mining to tourism and hospitality, from the green economy to telecommunications.
By bringing investment directly to where people live and work, economic activity is stimulated and opportunities are broadened.
Automotive plants are being built. Data centres have been opened. Ground has been broken on new factories and facilities, some of them even during the pandemic.
Investment brings hope and opportunity to those who need it most – the South African people – and makes a real difference in their lives.
We have also seen how companies are ploughing back into the communities in which they operate.
They are paving streets and improving sanitation.
They are building schools, clinics and housing for their employees.
They are establishing training centres to grow a new generation of skilled young people.
Given the difficulties and turmoil surrounding us, this conference has been a great success.
I want to thank all of you for your attendance, for your robust participation and for the investment commitments that you have made.
I also wish to thank those companies whose generous sponsorship has made this conference possible:
I wish to thank all those who have been working for months on this Conference:
Minister Ebrahim Patel and all the members of the Ministerial Steering Committee,
Presidential investment envoys, Mr Jacko Maree, Ms Phumzile Langeni, Mr Trevor Manuel, Mr Mcebisi Jonas, Mr Jeff Radebe, Mr Derek Hanekom and Ms Elizabeth Thabethe.
Ms Trudi Makhaya, my economic adviser, and the Organising Committee, and all the government departments, agencies and entities that have been part of this outstanding effort.
And most importantly, our social partners in organised business, organised labour and the community constituency.
This third South Africa Investment Conference has given us confidence and hope in the midst of a dreadful pandemic.
Our people – like people across the world – have endured much this year.
This Conference strengthens our conviction that we shall overcome this crisis and that the years ahead will be better, brighter and more prosperous for all.
With your support, we are firmly on the road to recovery.
I thank you.