23 Jan 2015 15:37pm
SAPA PR--PRESIDENT ZUMA HOLDS FRUITFUL SESSION WITH BUSINESS LEADERS IN DAVOS ISSUED BY: THE PRESIDENCY ATTENTION: NEWS EDITORS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 23 JANUARY 2015 PRESIDENT ZUMA HOLDS FRUITFUL SESSION WITH BUSINESS LEADERS IN DAVOS President Jacob Zuma and his Ministerial delegation had a fruitful interactive session with captains of commerce and industry in Davos, Switzerland during the annual Business Interaction Group meeting forming part of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In his briefing to the business sector, President Zuma said the National Development Plan provided a helpful guide to businesspeople as it outlined the direction the country would take until 2030. "We are saying South Africa is open for more investment. We offer an opportunity that no wise businessman or woman would want to miss. We have a stable democracy with checks and balances, we have good systems in place both politically and economically and we have various projects and programmes that are ready for investments and partnerships," the President said. President Zuma outlined successes and challenges, and mentioned key interventions to boost the economy and inclusive growth such as infrastructure development. "We have a massive infrastructure development programme so that we can expand our infrastructure for economic development and also to improve people's lives'', said the President. South Africa invests in three types of infrastructure. The first is core economic infrastructure that businesses need such as energy, transport and water. The second is investment in what is called 'soft infrastructure', namely, through building new schools, two new universities and 12 new FET campuses. The third is social infrastructure such as sanitation, health facilities and household energy through, among others, solar water heaters, so that local communities can have improved lives, and that they can be part of the benefits of a democracy. South Africa recognises the need to expand broadband to connect to the information and communication technologies that drive economies in the 21st century. South Africa is to spend more than one percent of the GDP on science and technology, while education continued to take the largest part of the budget. President Zuma told the business meeting that "load-shedding" was a passing phase and that government had good plans to generate a sustainable energy mix for the country including new coal power stations and other sources such as nuclear, shale gas, solar and wind sources. The President also briefed the meeting on interventions to stabilise the mining sector and said the collaboration between government, business and labour, is yielding positive results in the mining sector. The global business leaders, most of whom already have investments in South Africa, asked various questions including plans for broadband, infrastructure, funding for science and education, what South Africa is doing to promote skills development especially technical skills such as engineering and labour relations in South Africa, black economic empowerment and the challenges of youth unemployment. Responding to a question on what keeps him awake at night, President Zuma said it was "how to change the quality of life of the people, how we can secure employment and deal with inequality. The widening gap between rich and poor not only in South Africa but globally is worrying, what do we do? How do we close that gap? How do we deal with the frustrations of those who are hungry, those are some of the questions that keep me awake, but should also keep business awake, what do we do together to find answers", he said. The President was accompanied by the following Ministers: Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe, Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Mineral Resources, Mr Ngoako Ramathlodi, Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and the Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 079 879 3203 or Issued by: The Presidency Pretoria Ends /LN