SA leads in investor confidence
KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, is confident that South Africa continues to be among the preferred countries for investment. He said professional services firm, Ernst & Young, had surveyed 500 leading investors from three countries to see how South Africa fared as an investment destination. The survey showed an overwhelming preference for South Africa as an investment destination, with 41 percent of respondents seeing the country as the first choice on the continent, Mkhize said.
Black Business Council President Ndaba Ntsele echoed these sentiments, saying South Africa’s Brics membership since 2010 had sealed the country’s position as the continent’s diplomatic and economic leader.
The two were among the speakers at the Brics Business Forum, which opened at Durban’s International Convention Centre on Tuesday. Brics is an economic bloc representing five of the world’s leading emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Nearly 1 000 businesspeople from the Brics states attended the forum discussions.
Mkhize said: “South Africa, therefore, has a role in Brics and that is none other than it being the gateway into the rest of the African continent because of the relative level of development and its institutions at various levels…”
Ntsele alluded to the perception that Brics countries would soon rival the G7 nations in the size of their economy, with China likely to emerge as the largest economy in the world. “Companies in Brics countries are taking their place as players and leaders in the global economic space… The new workforce, young and more skilled, is going to come from the developing world,” Ntsele said, adding that India alone produced more than 2.5 million maths and science graduates every year.
Brics countries needed to know what they were good at and put this into practise for the benefit of their citizens. Brazil, for instance, was the fastest growing economy in Latin America, with a thriving agricultural sector and growing renewable fuels industry. Russia was a leader in aerospace industries, energy and rail, while information technology was India’s strength.
Business Unity South Africa President Jabu Mabuza said the mooted Brics development bank would be crucial to fuel development and trade and investment within Brics and other developing countries. He singled out limited access to markets as the challenge facing Brics countries.
“There remains a number of barriers to investment within Brics countries, mostly in the finance and retail industries. While we appreciate reforms to open up opportunities for foreign direct investment, we believe there is more that can be done.”
For Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom, technology transfer among Brics countries would be crucial for the success of the bloc. “There is a big opportunity not only for business but for making a great social impact as well. Between our partner countries, there is an opportunity to position our ideas on making partnerships in renewable energy a reality,” Hanekom said.
He implored the delegates who are attending the two-day summit in Durban to “seriously migrate” from coal-generated energy and consider searching for clean and renewable energy sources. He cited biofuels as an example. “The mind-set should be for us to see the necessity to migrate from fossil generated energy to cleaner forms,” Hanekom said.
President Jacob Zuma and his counterparts from the four countries will meet for formal discussions on today.
The most topical issue at this summit is the creation of a Brics bank, the initial capital of which is planned to be US $50 billion. Each member state is expected to contribute $10 billion.