SA Investment Conference to focus on pledges made in previous years

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Government has indicated that this year’s South African Investment Conference will focus more on consolidating the R664 billion of pledges made in the past two years, and less on new commitments.

The two-day conference will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre between the 17th and 18 of November at reduced capacity in accordance with COVID-19 regulations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa initiated the conference in an effort to mobilise R1.2-trillion in investment over a period of five years, starting from 2018.

Economic advisor to President Ramaphosa Trudy Makhaya says discussions around energy security, structural reforms for economic recovery, mining and support for small businesses will take centre stage at this year’s investment conference.

Makhaya says physical attendance of the conference is expected to be 90% lower due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“There’ll also be a panel on land reform and unlocking agricultural value chains. We’ve seen some steps in the land reform process, different elements of it in terms of releasing land; in terms of the sector itself thinking about a potential development agency that’s run by the sector. So, there are various partnerships and opportunities that are unlocked in that value chain. There’ll be a panel of small business growth opportunities, particularly looking as to how small businesses have fared under COVID-19,” says Makhaya.

Makhaya says although the conference seeks to comply with COVID-19 protocols, government will ensure full representation from the private sector, the investment community, labour and civil society at this year’s proceedings.

“Like in previous years, there will be several ministers present, particularly the day before at the sectoral roundtables to ensure that there is robust discussion on policy implementation. Floor space utilisation at the Sandton Convention Centre will be well below 50% in all the venues that we have booked and screening sanitizing and masking requirements will apply,” says Makhaya.

R664 billion in investment commitments was pledged in the two previous conferences held in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel says this year’s conference seeks to consolidate previous pledges under the new COVID-19 reality.

“We are not focused as much on fresh investment pledges because much of the conference will be to get that R664 billion implemented, but there are companies that are ready to make fresh investment pledges and there will be an opportunity for them to indicate that,” says Patel.

So far, over 1 000 local and international delegates have registered for virtual attendance of the conference.

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