Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finance Minister and Former Deputy President Speak to Students about Investment in Africa

Tshepo Tshabalala

Former South African Deputy President,
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka believes Africa
is capable of shaping its own success.
Prominent business and investment leaders took to the stage at the Association for Black Securities and Investments Professionals (ABSIP) Investment Forum Wits Chapter on Monday 14 March, at the university’s Great Hall. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan attracted a big audience at the event themed, Awakening Investment Potential.

The forum brings together students and financial industry professionals in an interactive atmosphere to discuss current issues and opportunities facing both investment professionals and the corporate world.

The Wits Chapter of Absip invited a range of speakers like Former Deputy President of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, Country Manager of Google SA Luke Mckend, World Banl Lead Private Sector Development Specialist Chunlin Zhang, Lesley Mosimang CEO of Murray & Roberts, Graham Mackay CEO of SAB Miller to name a few.

The speakers tackled a range of topics. Mlambo- Ngcuka spoke about why she believes Africa can do it for itself and innovation while Nyembezi-Heita shared her views on investing in Africa, reshaping the continent’s financial sector and building infrastructure for a 21st century economy and many more.

Gordhan spoke about Making South Africa an Accessible Investment Destination.

He started by making a joke questioning the reason why students were hosting an investment conference when none of them were not wearing Gucci suits as yet.

The Minister echoed government’s sentiments on nationalisation, "From the president down we have been saying that nationalisation of mines is not a government policy. All of us South Africans must recognize that we all have a very important contribution to make in order to create the right climate for our economy to grow and for our economy to grow in a way in which all our people benefit from the growth and the economy.”

He told the students South Africa has made a phenomenal progress in investment within and outside the borders. “We can’t grow as an economy compared to ten and 15 years ago because the current generation of 5 million youth that have no jobs, are lacking skills, and without university degrees”

Gordhan added that the government needs to redefine the target of growing the economy by 7% a year.

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says
international economic imbalances must be corrected.
“The Challenge is whether a country has enough savings. There are serious imbalances around issue of investment, savings and consumptions in the globe. The questions is how do you rebalance the globe? How do you ensure those countries that are running huge deficits and borrowing a lot change their behavior? They should spend less, reduce their deficit, and find a balance in their economies.

“It’s important to set the right aspirations for South Africa and to make sure our economy becomes globally competitive,” he told the two-day forum. Investment was crucial for economic growth, Gordhan said, adding that the youth had a pivotal role to play.

There was also a need to create an environment where small business would flourish.

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