South Africa is determined to attract more continental investors to set up businesses in the country ahead of the launch of the US$2.3-trillion African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in January 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.Ramaphosa said this in his weekly message to the nation a day before the country hosts a two-day investment conference to pitch its investment opportunities to investors.
The president said South Africa was expanding its own investments and markets for local goods and services elsewhere in the continent despite the setbacks of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
He said more than a quarter of South Africa’s exports are currently going to other African countries.
“We expect this to increase as the AfCFTA establishes a continental market of some 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of around $2.3 trillion,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “We are not the only country trying to attract investment as part of its economic recovery efforts in the aftermath of Covid-19. This makes our task much harder.”
To achieve this goal, the government would have to work together with business, labour and all of society to ensure that the seeds of local and international investment landed on fertile soil, Ramaphosa said.
“Our national objective is that the investments we secure at the third South Africa Investment Conference (on Tuesday and Wednesday) must lead to more jobs and improved living standards, and ultimately build the highway that leads to a better, more inclusive future for all,” he said.
He added that his government plans to use the two-day gathering to demonstrate that the country remained an attractive investment destination.