The JSE and its co-sponsors, Standard Bank, Old Mutual and UBS, successfully hosted the 8th annual South Africa Tomorrow (SAT) Investor conference under the theme Rethink, Recover and Rebuild on 16 – 20 November 2020. Business engaged with investors from across the world to promote South Africa as an investment destination and to drive investment into the country.
The five-day conference featured prominent speakers and panelists from leading corporates discussing themes such as mobilising back to growth trajectories post Covid-19, Pan-African growth, investing for good and sustainability for green growth.
Nonkululeko Nyembezi, JSE Ltd Chairman, opened the conference saying, “The South African economy was under pressure before the pandemic, which is why the impact of the lockdown was fairly predictable. The country is no stranger to difficult times, however, we have demonstrated traits that underpin our resilience. These include a competent and responsive central bank, a skilled and credible National Treasury, a stable political system and macroeconomic framework, consistency in the enforcement of contracts by the independent judiciary, a vibrant and resourceful private sector, free and independent media, and deep and liquid financial markets.”
Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, provided the keynote address on the first day of the conference in which he emphasised how the South African government is committed to pursuing a program of economic restructure and reconstruction, which is important to grow the economy, collect more revenue and bridge the funding gaps.
President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed the Minister’s sentiments when he opened the third annual SA Investor Conference on Wednesday 18 November. He reinforced South Africa’s progress in infrastructure development, its diverse economy, sophisticated capital markets and manufacturing capacity. Further saying that “South Africa is the ideal location for any company wanting to reach the continental market with greater effectiveness from a cost and logistical point of view.” This year’s SA Investor Conference focused on the implementation of the commitments made to date.
On the final day of the conference, the South African Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan addressed investors.
Governor Kganyago said “South Africa needs to recover output in the sectors of the economy that are still viable, and then we need to find new sources of growth. This means adopting policies that raise potential growth, and thereby nurture expectations that SA will be a viable economy in future. The SARB has been diligent about its mandate, inflation is well-controlled and inflation expectations for the medium term are all well within our target range, allowing the SARB to cut rates more than most countries.”
Addressing investors on government’s plans regarding state-owned enterprises, Minister Gordhan noted that the work being done by the President’s SOE council, which includes government and private sector representatives, is focused on looking at different ownership and governance models and rationalisation. He went on to say that government wanted to ensure that state owned entities do away with any dependence on the fiscus.
“As the country took the initial steps to adapt to the new reality, what stands out is our remarkable entrepreneurial spirit and the unbelievable capacity to pull together in a time of crisis. Like President Ramaphosa said, through our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, we are pursuing a few high impact priorities and focusing relentlessly on implementation,” concludes Nyembezi.