President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Switzerland, where he is leading a team of Ministers, Chairmen and CEOs of major companies who are ready to present the many positive attributes of the country at the World Economic Forum.
President Zuma is accompanied by seven Ministers and a large business delegation of chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of companies to the forum which kicked off in Davos on Wednesday.
The theme for WEF 2016 is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the theme of Team South Africa (TSA) is that South Africa is open for business.
The deterioration of the global economic outlook in recent months has resulted in slower global growth that has led to the weaker performance in several important developing countries, including China.
Moreover, the weakness in commodity prices is a concern for major commodity exporters such as South Africa. The fall in commodity prices is unlikely to reverse and will have a sustained impact on emerging market economies.
President Zuma said South Africa will be able to present a strong case in Davos, despite the difficult global context.
“South Africa has proved to be a resilient economy which is the outcome of the solid economic fundamentals that have been laid since the advent of democracy.
“Building on this success, the National Development Plan (NDP) provides a basis for collective action by all of us in the country to stabilise the economy, build confidence, raise the level of investment and return South Africa to a path of inclusive economic growth,” he said.
The President said the delegation will be sending a strong message that South Africa is committed to strong fiscal discipline.
“Government has stuck to its spending limits for the past three years and is on track to stay within the expenditure ceiling in 2015/16,” said the President.
The Presidency said Team South Africa is attending the WEF against the background of investor confidence that has been demonstrated by many international companies that have increased their investments and expanded their South African operations.
Among other investments welcomed by government are Mercedes’ R 2.4 billion investment, General Motors R1 billion, Ford R3.6 billion, the Metair Group R400 million, Goodyear R670 million, BMW’s recent increase in investment by R6 billion and VW by R4.5 billion and Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) which announced an investment of R11 billion in a vehicle manufacturing plant.
Other investments include Hisense’s expanded operation in South African and it has recently started exporting into the SADC region from its South African base; Marriot Hotels has also announced it will increase its South African footprint and Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Facebook have chosen to set up offices in South Africa.
The WEF Davos 2016 meeting will also feature South African culture, which will see South Africa’s popular band, Mafikizolo, perform at the annual WEF soiree – the gala dinner that marks the end of the session.
“Mafikizolo wowed WEF delegates when they performed at the Soiree/Mokete in Cape Town in June last year and the founder of WEF Prof Klaus Schwab made a special request that they perform in Davos as well,” said the Presidency.