Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Statement in the National Assembly about last week's Investment Conference

This afternoon I read this statement in the House:

ANC fans are hailing last week's Investment Conference in Sandton as a major step in President Ramaphosa's goal of attracting $100 billion of investment in 5 years.

A total of R290 billion of investment was pledged, topped by Anglo American's R71,5 billion.

While we don't want to rain on South Africa's parade, we can see the spin for what it is.

Is the R290 billion new investment on top of what we were likely to have secured in the normal course of events? Would the investments have been forthcoming anyway? Was the conference a huge propaganda exercise to elevate the President's status as he sat on his gleaming white throne receiving gifts?

Anglo's statement refers to the preservation of 79,000 jobs, not the creation of new ones. The other investors provided very little detail on how their money would be spent.

The investment of R1,4 billon into tech start-ups bucked the trend, but this is only a tiny fraction of the total pledges.

It's all very well making the trophy buffalo announcements, Mr President, but where's the beef? 
Where's the concomitant reduction in the cost of doing business, deregulation of labour markets,  incentives for exports and entrepreneurs and fixing the skills deficit? 

Without them, all these investments will wither and die in South Africa's unfertile economic soil.

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