Ramaphosa’s job isn’t an easy one, the current president of South Africa having to pick up from where Jacob Zuma left off in February of 2018, trying to gradually undo all past mistakes by committing the government to allow private investments. Some criticize the current president for holding meetings and summits where nothing really appears to get done, but a little patience should be granted in this case, especially considering that there are at least 10 companies willing to invest in the progress and development of the country, helping create new jobs in the process to aid resolve the issue of high unemployment stats.
As there was a great loss of credibility during the Zuma era, the country facing a severe image damage inflicted by the opaque and unpredictable government formed by the prior ruler. Thus, Ramaphosa has been facing a great challenge since the get-go under the form of credibility recovery. For this reason, summits and meetings are held often, the president trying to convince investors to drop a dime and aid the country’s development process go smoothly.
Companies have already pledged to invest
On the second day of the Investment Summit, 10 pledges had already been amassed. Rain Mobile commits R1 billion to build a new 5G network that would help improve the telecommunications sector considerably, while the Mara company is said to invest R1.5 billion towards the same sector, putting a bigger emphasis on creating more jobs to concomitantly help lower the unemployment rate as much as possible.
Ivanplats, a subsidiary of Ivanhoe Mines, is willing to invest R4.5 billion in the local economy, Sappi pledging R7.7 billion for the same purpose with the added intent of focusing on manufacture and textiles more. Naspers intends to invest R4.6 billion while setting up a tech innovation hub to create more jobs. Vedanta offered a staggering R21.4 billion for the metal industry, while Mercedes-Benz South Africa gave R10 billion and Mondi pledged R8 billion for the country. The biggest surprise yet came from Anglo American, a mining company that commits an R71.5 billion investment in the mining industry that spans over the next 5 years.
Up to this point, R134.1 billion have been raised and the good news keeps rolling in, a positive outlook on the country’s situation not seeming as impossible as it did the past years. As long as Ramaphosa will have a strong hold over government and not allow the internal situation to decay as his predecessor did, investors are bound to aid as they won’t fear losses, and South Africa will be on the right path to economic growth and development.
Oppressing developmental issues that Ramaphosa must tend to
Poor regulation of the energy, telecommunications, and water industries must be fixed under his presidency for him to regain credibility in the eyes of foreign investors. Evidently, when discussing these industries we must take into account the impact held on country inhabitants as some major issues emerge:
- People don’t have the same access to information and communication means as those in better-developed countries do, which harms a number of life quality aspects, education receiving the biggest blow.
- Water pollution is a major issue that has led to serious health detriments for inhabitants, thus decimating the number of people who are apt to work and who would have otherwise contributed to a more rapid development. At home sanitation doesn’t come as easily for inhabitants as it does in developed countries as earnings are significantly lower, so it is up to the state to fix this oppressing matter.
- There can be no real development without the energy department thriving as it is needed not only for life quality increase among the populous but for sustaining the rest of the industries that can help South Africa in its developmental process. As it basically stands at the core of all actions, energy is the department where Ramaphosa and the government must get most heavily involved.
What the future holds
Aware of how important Africa’s development is for Europe as well as the rest of the world, Chancellor Angela Merkel has personally urged companies to shift their focus towards this continent to back efforts in prosperity so that the people of the continent will finally enjoy the same luxuries as the rest of the world. With backing from one of the most respected political figures at the moment and Ramaphosa on the right track towards winning trust, the future seems brighter than ever for South Africa in particular.
The summit might have seemed a bit too pretentious to some as its showbiz style scene and the fanfare were indeed over the top, but this isn’t what we should take away from it. The vast audience that tended to the event, which was composed of approximately 1300 business and government leaders, was pleased with the outcome as pressing issues regarding the country’s reliability when it comes to investment were clarified, the president reassuring the business community that their properties and investments are now safer than ever and will remain this way.
In the event that even more businesses commit to aiding South Africa in its journey toward growth, people who live in unsanitary conditions, who are faced with pollution-induced health issues, who live in poverty, and who don’t have proper access to education will likely see an end to their troubles as not only will new jobs invade the market, but life expectancy and quality will grow as a result of industrial and economic growth.
With South Africa’s economy struggling, the recent investment summit led by Cyril Ramaphosa was intended to revive economic growth in the region. Addressing the structural weaknesses in the economy and improving the investment framework could be the moves that will eventually lead to a fix, especially with the right external help.