South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared himself in economic ‘repair mode’ at a major investment conference as the country raised a total of $55 billion from investors to help haul itself out of recession.
The former union leader, who inherited a mismanaged economy from the scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma earlier this year, wants $100 billion of new investments over the next five years, Reuters wrote.
Investment commitments of almost 290 billion rand ($20 billion) were made at the conference, Ramaphosa said.
He had already secured pledges for some $35 billion, mainly from China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ramaphosa has made reviving the economy a top priority since assuming power in February, but has been hampered by fiscal constraints and infighting in the ruling African National Congress.
“We are in repair mode,” Ramaphosa said in his opening speech at the conference, which looked at opportunities in sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and energy.
Ramaphosa said the promised investments would give the country a lift.
“We have witnessed today the beginning of a new narrative about investing in South Africa,” he said in his closing remarks. “Today I can say the investment strike is over.”
Analysts have said investors held back during Zuma’s rule.
Property rights commitment
Several companies across various sectors made the pledges, including Anglo American (AAL.L), one of the world’s largest commodities miners, which said it would spend 71.5 billion rand ($5 billion) in the country over the next five years.
South Africa’s association of car makers, which includes Nissan, Volkswagen and Isuzu, said its members would invest more than 40 billion rand over the next five years, while Telecoms firm Vodacom pledged to invest 50 billion rand over the same period.
Investors welcomed Ramaphosa’s rise to the presidency partly due to his strong ties to the business community. Since then, however, the economy has sunk into recession and faced a series of downbeat data.