By the end of the second annual investment conference on Thursday (7 November), corporates committed R363 billion worth of investments to South Africa.
Writing in his weekly open letter to the country, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that these commitments will be turned into ‘factories, equipment and optimism’.
“It is expected that over the next five years, the investments announced last week will conservatively result in the creation of around 412,000 direct jobs and a significant number of indirect jobs,” the president said.
“By far the most exciting development at the investment conference was the increase in the commitments from South African businesses.
“Local businesses are the vanguard of our investment drive, and the scale of commitments made shows they have truly stepped up to the challenge. We are immensely encouraged that our home-grown businesses want to be part of not only economic growth but of advancing an inclusive economy.”
Ramaphosa added that many JSE-listed companies are sitting on substantial cash reserves and that by 2017, the total reserves of large companies listed on the JSE amounted to R1.4 trillion, from around R242 billion in 2005.
“This money can be used to stimulate economic growth and create jobs locally, instead of being held in reserve or used to fund investments elsewhere,” he said.
“Since I assumed office last year I have been engaging with business on a number of platforms to ask them to re-invest back into our economy, and am greatly encouraged that many heeding the call.”
While the country encourages new investment, it still needs to protect and retain current investment, said Ramaphosa.
“Our work towards improving the competitiveness of our business environment will ensure that our invesment gains are not undermined by business closures,” he said.
“A competitive economy will also mean that every rand of capital invested yields more in terms of output and jobs.”
He added that the benefit of increased investment extends far beyond raising capital to fund key projects.
“It is about the creation of a good and decent job for every South African, enabling them to feed their families, to own or build a home, and to save for their children’s education and for retirement,” he said.
“It is about giving effect to the promise of the Freedom Charter that all shall share in the country’s wealth. Above all, it is about expanding the welfare and horizons of all our people, bringing us all the closer to attaining the South Africa we want.”