Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says the tough economic climate offers an opportunity for government and business to work together to find solutions to bolster growth.
The President said this in his opening remarks at the Presidential Investor Luncheon and World Economic Forum review in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The meeting was also held to promote a more conducive investor climate in South Africa.
The President said the country’s economic climate remains difficult and this requires solid partnerships.
“It is against this that as government and business, we must abandon the business as usual thinking. We have to start working together more.
“This … is a wonderful opportunity for us to work more closely together. The short-term economic outlook is not inspiring. The low economic growth is costly to business, community and government,” he said.
The President also used the opportunity to share with business the new InvestSA One Stop Shop Approach, which is designed to make South Africa more investor friendly. The Department of Trade and Industry is to establish One Stop Shops throughout the country to promote ease of doing business.
President Zuma recently established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment Promotion to further improve the investor climate and support. The President said government will work tirelessly to create an enabling climate to bolster investment.
“Government takes the lead in developing economic infrastructure. This investment should not be allowed to slow down in difficult times as we may lose our comparative advantage to others who are able to invest and develop faster and better ways of doing business.
“We thus continue to invest in infrastructure such as electricity, bulk water, ports and rail infrastructure. It is for this reason that co-investment with business should be supported. More importantly, we should never lose sight of the positive attributes that make South Africa an investment destination of choice,” he said.
SA businesses leading the market
The President said South Africa has a diversified business base.
He said that the country’s economy offers world class business services in areas such as information and communication technology, transport and logistics as well as financial and professional services. South Africa has strong and transparent public institutions and is committed to responsible macro-economic management of the economy, the President said.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2015/16 ranked South Africa in the top 10 out of 140 countries.
“South African businesses are market leaders. They are expanding into Africa in the fields of manufacturing, logistics, retail and financial services.
“The Global Competitiveness Report found that South African businesses are amongst the most innovating, ranking 32 in terms of the capacity for innovation and 33 in company spending in research and development,” said President Zuma.
He said despite these positive attributes, the economic outlook remains difficult.
“The issues we should look at is how do we take advantage of the weaker exchange rate to support tourism, localisation and exports broadly, and how do we support small businesses better.”