More businesses have pledged billions of rands in investment to the ailing South African economy at the second investment conference in Sandton.
The gathering is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive to raise R1.2 trillion to improve the country’s low economic growth and deal with the 29.1% unemployment rate.
The new commitments come at the back of assurances by Ramaphosa that the proceeds of the pledges made at the inaugural investment conference were already being realised.
Businesses operating in different sectors of the economy have given South Africa’s economy yet another chance, with the likes of telecommunications giant MTN pledging R50 billion in capital investment over the next five years.
MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said: “We are absolute believers that South Africa is going to rise and prosper in the years ahead and overcome all the challenges and difficulties that we’ve had these last few years. I think again we don’t know exactly how but we’re believers.”
Shuter applauded government policy on releasing more broadband spectrum.
Pulp and paper company Sappi, which contributes 1% to the country’s export revenue, has committed to spending R14 billion over the next four years.
The BRICS Development Bank said it had set aside R23 billion for loans and funding in 2020.
While business has acknowledged that the regulatory environment in South Africa has come a long way, some investors have expressed concern about the remaining hurdles.
The group CEO of one the world’s largest mining producers Anglo American is among the business leaders present at the summit.
Mark Cutifani said the industry needed government to move on the security of tenure and on workforce flexibility among other issues.
The business leaders welcomed President Ramaphosa’s commitment that government will move with speed to remove regulatory hurdles that make it hard for businesses to thrive.
The conference is being attended by hundreds of delegates from 22 countries across the world.