President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided to skip the international World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, to deal with the domestic national power crisis.
In a tweet released on 15 January 2023, Vincent Magwenya, the spokesperson for the President, said: “Due to the ongoing energy crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa has cancelled his working visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Currently, the President is convening a meeting with leaders of political parties represented in parliament, NECCOM and the Eskom board.”
Magwenya added: “Ramaphosa has already engaged with the leadership of Eskom and the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECCOM), and those meetings will continue. More briefing sessions to key stakeholders will take place during this coming week.”
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit organization that holds an annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together political leaders, business executives, and experts to discuss pressing global issues.
It is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, where leaders from around the world come together to discuss pressing global issues. The conference is scheduled to begin on 16 January and run until 20 January.
During load shedding, Ramaphosa has been accused in the past of not staying in the country. During the latter part of last year, when concluding presidential meetings with US president Joe Biden, Ramaphosa rushed back to South Africa as public outcry intensified.
Attending the WEF meeting is a chance for South Africa to promote itself as a valuable place for foreign direct investment. Among the South African team attending, finance minister Enoch Godongwana will be present.
On 13 January, in a pre-WEF engagement with domestic business figureheads, Godognwana said that South Africa has a lot to offer the international business community, even with load shedding.
Godongwana said that the country could make specific changes to improve the business climate and strengthen international business partnerships.
He did note that “an unstable electricity supply remains one of the biggest barriers to economic growth, and it disturbs the lives of all South Africans.”
“Ending blackouts and solving the energy crisis remains among the government’s top priorities,” said the minister.
South Africa was recently plunged into stage 6 load shedding, pushing up the frequency and length of rolling blackouts, impacting economic growth and causing frustration among citizens.
Financial services company BNP Paribas predicts that energy insecurity in the country will worsen, slowing economic growth, with power outages increasing to 200 days in 2023. Intellidex analyst Peter Attard Montalto also warns that load shedding may reach stage 7 or higher by the middle of the year.
Due to the ongoing energy crisis, President @CyrilRamaphosa has cancelled his working visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Currently the President is convening a meeting with leaders of political parties represented in parliament,NECCOM and the Eskom board.
— Vincent Magwenya 🇿🇦 (@SpokespersonRSA) January 15, 2023