The list of South Africans attending Davos this week includes a billionaire and several entrepreneurs

The minister of human settlements and head of cabinet economic cluster, Mmamoloko Kubayi, will represent the government of South Africa at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum taking place from 22 to 26 May 2022 in Davos, Switzerland.

Minister of finance, Enoch Godongwana, and minister of international relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor, are also on the list of attendees.

“The 2022 meeting will convene at the most consequential geopolitical and geo-economic moment of the past three decades and against the backdrop of a once-in-a-century pandemic,” said a statement from the government.

Government, business and civil society leaders will convene to simultaneously advance longstanding economic, environmental, political and societal priorities, and security challenges, all the while reinforcing the foundations of a stable global system, it said.

Minister Kubayi will attend the meeting, alongside a strong contingent of over 35 South African business representatives, with the primary focus of promoting South Africa as an attractive investment destination.

“In addition, the meeting will also provide an opportunity for the government to share an update on South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan, promote the country’s economic reforms, and advance important public-private partnerships to support the country’s development objectives.”

A number of South African business people will participate in the various sessions throughout the week, including:

  • Leila Fourie: Group CEO, Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa: CEO, South Africa, Naspers.
  • Angela Oduor Lungati: Executive director, Ushahidi – an open-source software application.
  • Patrice Motsepe: Founder and executive chairman, African Rainbow Minerals, Member of Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum.
  • Precious Moloi-Motsepe: Co-founder and CEO, Motsepe Foundation.
  • Rene Parker: CEO RLabs – a platform for skills training and economic empowerment programmes.
  • Shoriwa Shaun Benjamin: Founder, Learnable – an all-in-one, interactive resource platform designed to make learning easy and accessible for students and teachers.
  • Nicola Galombik: Executive Director, Yellowwoods – an investment holding company.
  • Maserame Mouyeme: Director, Old Mutual.
  • Bronwyn Nielsen: Founder and CEO, Nielsen Media and Associates.

The full list is below:

Some of the key messages Team SA will focus on at WEF include:

  • Unpacking the government’s priorities for supporting higher levels of economic growth through areas such as infrastructure and industrial growth;
  • Outlining a commitment to higher economic growth through faster implementation of structural reforms through Operation Vulindlela – a programme led by the Presidency and National Treasury to fast-track structural reform implementation in key sectors such energy and telecommunication;
  • Commitment to addressing climate change, the green economy, and transitioning to lower carbon emissions;
  • Commitment to deepening economic cooperation within the continent and globally and simulating trade; and
  • Implementing reforms that will support the Ease of Doing Business, such as reducing data costs and one-stop shops for setting up businesses.

This week marks the first time in two years that the world’s rich and powerful will descend on Davos. Bloomberg reports that the guest list is hundreds of names shorter, with many titans of finance conspicuously absent. The chiefs of Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co aren’t going. Neither is BlackRock Inc’s Larry Fink or Steve Schwarzman, the private-equity billionaire, it said.

But there’s still much to discuss given the war in Ukraine, including rampant inflation, risks of food shortages and climate change. “The lingering pandemic, rampant inflation, tumbling stock markets and the war in Ukraine mark a bleak backdrop for the five-day event. Looming over it all is this year’s theme, which has an ominous ring: “History at a Turning Point.”

The event still expects to draw some 2,000 attendees, not counting the scores of other people who come but don’t go to official events.

So too will roughly 90 billionaires tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That includes philanthropists Bill Gates and George Soros, hedge fund mogul Ray Dalio, and India’s Gautam Adani, whose personal fortune has skyrocketed this year, making him the world’s sixth-richest person, said Bloomberg.

By comparison, at least 119 billionaires converged on the town in January 2020, just as the coronavirus outbreak began.

On Sunday, as part of the registration process, the World Economic Forum embarked on a landmark initiative “to strengthen global collaboration, using the immersive, interactive technology of the metaverse to drive inclusive impact at scale”. Delegates were able to explore the environment and capabilities of the Global Collaboration Village in their own digital avatar.

Read: Banks send price hike warning to South Africa

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The list of South Africans attending Davos this week includes a billionaire and several entrepreneurs