In keeping with its commitment to achieving inclusive growth and job creation, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) would like to urge the South African private sector to help build on the Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) Summit, currently underway in Johannesburg, by matching and taking advantage of the investment opportunities presented by the summit and associated business forums.
This follows an announcement of $14,7 billion worth of investments by China ahead of the Summit. This complements pledges of $10 billion each from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to that region. The announced pledges equate to about 12% of South Africa’s GDP.
“The investment announcement was a timely boost ahead of such an important gathering. We would like to see the local private sector match these efforts and help unlock the opportunities presented by these investments,” said BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale.
BLSA has over the last few months been working with presidential special envoys to help drive the project to recruit $100 billion in FDI and another $100 billion made up of domestic direct investment.
“Our board remains committed to ensuring that local business matches – rand-for-rand – the FDI target. We are confident this is achievable. Already, one of our members – Sappi – has just announced R7,5 billion over the next five years,” said Mohale. Another BLSA member, Old Mutual, helped generate R 10 billion investment inflows with its recent relisting on the JSE.
Mohale noted that South Africa’s relationship with BRICS countries now needs to mature to allow South Africa to export an increasing proportion of value added goods to these countries and address the trade and investment deficit between them, most notably with China.
Mohale added: “BLSA appreciates BRICS’s position as an important alternative structure to help South Africa advance its economic goals, and the country needs to aggressively take advantage of infrastructure funding opportunities offered by the New Development Bank, commonly referred to as the BRICS Bank.”