S. Africa is open to business: president

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-06 19:17:15|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- In spite of the sluggish economic growth and escalating debt South Africa is facing, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday told the South Africa Investment Conference that the country's superior infrastructure and stability made it an attractive investment destination.

"Indeed we have a lot to offer in natural and mineral resources, with a young and able workforce, world class infrastructure, sophisticated telecommunications systems, and a well-regulated financial and banking sector," he told delegates attending the second Investment Conference.

Since he came into office last year, Ramaphosa has embarked on a drive to raise billions of U.S. dollars in new investments in the next five years to tackle stagnant growth and deal with unemployment.

The president said he was pleased that 238 billion rand (16 billion US dollars) investments have materialized since last year.

"Of the 31 projects announced last year, eight projects have been realized and completed. Seventeen are in construction or at implementation stage," he said.

The president said some of the financial commitments made last year have resulted in new factories, new production lines and new jobs.

"I have had occasion to be present at some of these factory and facility openings and have seen the optimism and commitment of the business owners, management teams and workers at all these establishments. As a nation, we have determined that we will not be defeated by challenges we face," he said.

The president did acknowledge the damage that graft has caused in the country's economy over the last ten years.

"Over the last decade, our economy has barely grown, investment has dwindled and the rate of unemployment has increased. All these factors have combined to exacerbate poverty and inequality," Ramaphosa said.

The president recently mentioned that South Africa lost 500 billion rand as a result of state capture which occurred under former president Jacob Zuma's administration. A commission to probe the malfeasance which happened under Zuma is currently ongoing.

"Today, we are still feeling the effects of several years of state capture and corruption, the erosion of important public institutions and the resultant policy malaise," he said, the new administration's objective was to eliminate state capture and rebuild the country.

Ramaphosa further said that challenges hampering the economy's progress have been identified and the government was working hard to address them.

"We have determined that we will move forward, effect far-reaching reforms and undertake the detailed work required to turn our economy around," he said.