President Cyril Rampahosa has announced that the fourth annual South Africa Investment Conference will be held in March 2022, with the event expected to attract significant international funding to South Africa.
The government held the first investment conference in 2018 as part of a drive to raise R1.2 trillion in new investment over five years.
The conference was attended by over a thousand delegates in 2018 and 2019, and in 2020 was held in a hybrid format due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Together, these conferences raised just over R770 billion in investment commitments across a wide range of economic sectors.
“Although the fourth investment conference has been held over by a few months, our ambitious investment drive continues,” Ramaphosa said.
“Even in the midst of the challenging economic environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which was exacerbated by the violence and destruction that occurred in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, companies continue to make good on their commitments and to look for other investment opportunities in South Africa.”
While the rate of investment has slowed due to the effects of the pandemic, and several projects have been delayed, the investment drive is beginning to gather pace once again, he said.
Below Ramaphosa outlined some of the key growth areas which are likely to attract investment.
Aspen Pharmacare recently launched its R3.4 billion expansion, which it announced at the 2018 Investment Conference.
This investment has turned Aspen’s Gqeberha manufacturing facility into one of the largest global manufacturing hubs for general anaesthetics and has also provided capacity over 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine have been produced under contract, Ramaphosa said.
“The World Health Organization also chose South Africa to host an mRNA vaccine manufacturing hub with the Biovac Institute, which is a public-private partnership with government.
“South African-born Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong and his company NantWorks recently announced an ambitious initiative to build capacity for advanced health care in Africa. In addition to the investments they will bring, these developments will also contribute to our collective ambition for the continent to manufacture 60% of its vaccine needs by 2040,” he said.
Energy is another area of growth, and the 25 preferred bidders in the fifth round of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme are together expected to invest around R50 billion into the economy, Ramaphosa said.
He said that increasing the licensing threshold for the embedded generation to 100 megawatts is also likely to result in substantial private investment in electricity generation projects.
“South Africa has recently secured an initial commitment of around R131 billion to fund a just transition to a low carbon economy by investing in renewable energy, green hydrogen and electric vehicles.
“This commitment by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union is in line with the Paris Agreement, which obliges wealthier countries to support decarbonisation in the developing world.”
These energy investments will help us overcome the debilitating load shedding that the country is currently experiencing as new electricity generation capacity comes online.
Tech and infrastructure
Several new investments in data centres and undersea cables will not only bring in new investment but will provide the infrastructure needed for the growth of technology and telecommunications industries, Ramaphosa said.
“An important part of our investment drive are the far-reaching structural reforms we are undertaking in areas such as energy, telecommunications, water and ports and rail.
“These reforms will improve efficiency and competitiveness, bringing down the cost of doing business in South Africa, and encouraging greater private investment in our economic infrastructure.”
The president noted that South Africa now has 13 special economic zones across the country, providing investors with targeted investment incentives, preferential tax rates and export support.
“These provide an attractive manufacturing base for companies seeking to supply both local and international markets. Their value has increased further with the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which officially commenced trading at the beginning of the year.”